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Thursday, June 02, 2011
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May 30, 2011
May 30, 2011
Illegal immigration has always seemed to depend on X to me, X being the number of people allowed to legally immigrate every year. I have no idea what that number is, how it's determined or even who makes those decisions or what they are based on. But it seems only logical that if there are jobs here that Americans are not willing to take, and are not being filled by the current volume of legal immigrants, then the place to start is by increasing X. Granted drug runners and other miscreants will try to sneak in under any system designed to keep them out, but the vast majority who are simply coming here for work - why not let them? Nobody ever seems to talk about this side of the equation...
All the best,
The important thing is not to overwhelm the capacity of the Melting Pot.
Governor Palin: New Afghanistan Development Dangerous to NATO
Regardless of ones position on Afghanistan, alienating the host government whose election you supported is stupid. Palin understands this, Obama does not. However; it appears that she would be willing to withdraw
The Paleocon dream of retreat into Neo-Isolationism is coming true.
I would not call not being involved in three endless wars in the Middle East "neo-isolationism". It was one thing to go in to throw the Taliban out of Afghanistan. We did that. It is quite another to leave the Legions in the graveyard of empire to try to build a new society propping up the Mayor of Kabul as the Khan of Afghans.
I didn't much care for going into Iraq to begin with, back when it would be a few months and a trivial $300 billion. I thought we could get a lot more for $300 billion by investing in domestic energy production. But having got in there, staying around for a decade seems a fairly drastic alternative to "neo isolationism". Was it isolationism to avoid the territorial disputes of Europe while sending the Marines to the shores of Tripoli? But they didn't stay in Tunisia...
US military interventions ought to serve US interests. I do not know what our interest in Afghanistan might be. they make nothing we want. They don't want us there. Why do we want to be there?
The money spent on foreign adventures would be better spent on investment in domestic energy development. Low cost energy and freedom produces wealth. We are not getting wealthy out of our Afghan, Iraqi, and Libyan investments of blood and treasure.
For a PDF copy of A Step Farther Out:
June 1, 2011
Viking Real Estate Scam
Dear Dr. Pournelle,
In case you haven't seen this yet:
Of course, this is what you've been saying for years. I'd love to see this article spread far and wide!
Sincerely, Frank Luxem
When I was in Capleville consolidated school in the 1930's we learned about Leif the Lucky, Vinland, and read The Skeleton in Armor. All in a day or so. But they don't do that sort of thing in our expensive public schools now. In those days we had 2 grades to the room and 20 or more pupils to the grade, but we managed to learn reading and writing and 'rithmetic and a bit of history while we were at it....
Federal government loosens its grip on the BlackBerry -
After many years in and around Fed service, (that is NOT always an oxymoron!) I have heard this before. There is usually some kind of false start, then "they" figure out the can do it. There will be unintended consequences, but I can remember when ordinary land lines were controlled at work. That state of affairs was common until well after most of the workforce had personal cell phones and the point was moot.
It will be interesting to see what happens out of this.
Just to nail it down, I am not an anarchist, and I understand that there are legitimate activities of the Federal Government. When i was a lad the (Federal) County Agent taught how to do contour plowing and prevent gullying, which was important. And of course the government was needed to fight the War. But when I was a lad, the Federal County Agent was the most visible part of the Federal Government, too. We didn't have anyone from Washington inspecting my pet rabbits.
Theft by TSA inspection (two cases plus other inanities) http://www.boortz.com/weblogs/nealz-nuze/2011/may/31/dumbest-tsa-agent-ive-seen-and-crookedest/
The Army has an Old Tech solution for mountain warfare:
We did all our farming with mules when I was growing up. And there were no bulldozers; mules with slip shovels. It's not that old a technology. When I was in school we learned that Memphis Tennessee (Capleville was a few miles outside Memphis) was the Mule Capital of the world. I had both horses and mules to take care of when I was growing up.
Springtime for Hitler
Subject: Osama a casualty of the Arab revolt,
Spengler says Osama in Laden was a casualty of the Arab revolt:
His headline was “Osama a casualty of the Arab revolt” and I read it as “Obama a casualty of the Arab revolt,” which is an entirely reasonable position. Heh.
Anyway, Spengler talks a bit about how the Saudis have been supporting al-Qaeda, but al-Qaeda has been getting close with Iran, which is leaning on Saudi Arabia. So, he thinks the Saudis decided to reveal OBL’s whereabouts to us.
It’s getting deep over there. Remind me again why our soldiers are in central Asia.
Quacking about quicksilver
The chemical transport lessons taught by the Japanese reactor meltdowns apply as well to mercury emissions, natural and manmade.
Most of what goes up comes down not very far away, and a lot never goes up at all, so airborne and groundwater plume source sink trajectories create hot spots and relatively bald patches in both cases . Neither environmentalists nor apologists for coal burning like this mere fact of natural history , but that's the way it is. The shallow ice cores from Wyoming are close to California , and far upwind of Eastern US power plants, so it takes a mighty belch of Rust Belt smoke to register there,
The 1849- 1864 Gold Rush spike is likewise historically bizarre as quicksilver miners hell bent to sell to their gold washing colleagues burned heaps of cinnabar rock from Almaden county ( namesake of the Spanish quicksilver mining district) to get the stuff, loosing prodigious amounts to the air by this 16th century Best Practice. While modern mining annually matches the total natural flux, much of the latter is from hot springs and wet hydrothermal vents that release little to the air.
The most cautionary point is that the WSJ no longer has a science editor , let alone a science section, perhaps by editorial design, as some on the Ed Page find science metaphysically disturbing , while others, including the WSJ Opinion editor are on the record as disinclined to study it at all.
-- Russell Seitz
June 2, 2011
A quiet week. There's a bank holiday on Monday.
Trains are not running between Scotland and London. <http://tinyurl.com/3mvhep6>
UK is training snipers to help put down the unrest in the Arab world. <http://tinyurl.com/3qfe35k>
Twitter rolls over. <http://tinyurl.com/3nu9egn>
UK economic forecast bleak. <http://tinyurl.com/3zos4sd>
And I have marking to do.
-- Harry Erwin, PhD
A Few Midweek Stories in the UK Press
Funding crisis threatens the UK NHS. Cum grano salis. <http://tinyurl.com/3njedu8> . The point is valid with the ageing UK population. Medical care is manpower-intensive, so it doesn't respond well to economies of scale. The NHS isn't the most progressive user of technology, nor the most efficient organisation in the world, but the Government needs to pay attention to the real requirements. Barry Boehm used to say, "Don't start walking until you know where you want to go."
UK asylum backlog cleared by an amnesty. <http://tinyurl.com/6efwrmq>
-- Harry Erwin
A new take on cold fusion, time will tell
"Quick" climate change http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC34304/
since I have honeybees, 10 or 15 years ago I believed in (man made) climate change, but not now. I have seen how "competent" that the scientific world is by the response to CCD (colony collapse) since, alas my bees have it. IMO it is a very nasty virus, and not anything else (this is 95% likely to be true).
be well dave
I have no opinions on bees, although I do think it is unlikely that cell phones are killing them. As to "cold" fusion, I am always interested in data points. And I note that the Navy continues to fund low level research.
You have long been a rare voice of sanity in the immigration debate<?>, and ,after enough gnashing of teeth and deliberation, I have seldom found myself in disagreement with you.
However: you lately stated (again), that control of our borders is a necessary but not sufficient condition.....actually, I believe that over the long haul, it would in fact be a sufficient condition. But later you went on to state that "Deport them all and deport them now will not work".
This may be true, but on what evidence do you base the assertion? To the best of my recollection, this is a policy which (just like border control) has NEVER been put to the test.
Now, with a change in subject so dramatic that whiplash may be a risk: The mention of the poll concerning the best SF books never made into a movie leads me to ask:
Have the screenrights to any of your books been optioned or purchased? Many of them, like Footfall, seem nearly designed for a screenplay.
Hope you recover soon, and the warmest regards to you and yours,
I thought I made it clear enough: it's just impossible to round up, detain, find a place willing to accept, and transport twenty million people in any reasonable time. It's legally impossible without such drastic changes to our court system that the debates on making those changes won't last for years and be both divisive and disruptive. It's financially very expensive. It's politically as near impossible as makes no never mind as soon as you run out of tattooed gangsters, serial killers, and general lowlifes and have to start contemplating people who have committed no known crime other than being here; particularly in the cases of those brought here before the age of consent and who have clearly assimilated.
There are clear cases for deportation: think those who came in after Katrina, lived ten to a room (or slept under bridges) and who took the emergency cleanup jobs that a great many unemployed Americans. But sorting those out from the local gardener can be expensive and non-trivial. We can and should set up procedures to make it easier for potential employers to verify legal status of potential employees. We can and should conduct more random raids just to encourage self-deportation. I have often advocated a reward, say $3,000, for taking someone across the border after they sign a "I won't ever fight deportation" certificate (this can include yourself). The problem with that is finding a suitable punishment for coming back: given what it costs us to imprison someone it's cheaper to let them stay here and collect welfare!
But until we close the borders discussions may, like the promise of amnesty, encourage a flood. It's hardly a simple question.
We get periodically get option money for most of our major works, but so far no one has picked up the options and I think they have all run out.
Here it is, as we said it would be:
<.> The last month has been a horror show for the U.S. economy, with economic data falling off a cliff, according to Mike Riddell, a fund manager at M&G Investments in London. </> http://www.cnbc.com/id/43239586
<.> Wall Street is having a hard time figuring out what to do now that the U.S. economy appears to be sputtering and yields are so low, Peter Yastrow, market strategist for Yastrow Origer, told CNBC. </> http://www.cnbc.com/id/43236764
------- Most Respectfully,
Wall Street is always happy to have the Fed print money and hand it to them. When that stops the panic comes.
We might try things that have worked in the past. Anti-trust (banks, communication companies, etc.) to prevent concentrations and encourage competition; cutting back on regulations (let competition work; stop doing needless things like paying grown people as federal inspectors to investigate stage magicians who use rabbits in their acts; make it easier to start jobs and hire people); and developing energy sources. Cheap energy plus freedom brings prosperity.
A totally unregulated market will end up with human flesh sold in the market place. Growth of regulation leads to concentrations of wealth and the kind of "Permit Raj" that kept India and China in the dumps for so long. All that is obvious -- but it's obvious to those who issue the permits, too.
Subj: E. coli outbreak in Europe
It has been determined that the particularly virulent strain of E. coli currently impacting Europe contains genes from at least two previously known strains of the bug plus genes from at least one additional source making it more toxic.
The article emphasized natural gene transference mechanisms. But as the victims (and body counts) increase, non-natural mechanisms may begin to be considered, particularly as there is still a lot of question about vectors.
I saw the first suggestions of the latter from a correspondent yesterday. We'll see how things develop today.
Considering that the E.coli has got to be one of the most studied and documented bugs around, I was wondering......
How long would it take for a determined garage microbiologist to breed a strain of e. Coli that is particularly virulent and resistant to common antibiotics. "Distribution" wouldn't be a problem as e.Coli is also a pretty hardy bug.
Hardly an original thought I'm sure. Frank Herbert did it some thirty years ago with The White Plague.
Fortunately that's likely to be harder than you think; on the other hand, Mother Nature is pretty good at that sort of thing. MRSA anyone?
I said they were going into the streets, now they are in the schools? When are people going to say no? Will they come in your house and grope your daughters next? What is wrong with these junkies?
-------- Most Respectfully,
This seemed puzzling enough that I tried to follow it. It led to an earlier article:
and then to this from TSA:
As to why conditions in Santa Fe are so awful that a judge would order them to submit to the TSA, I have not a clue; perhaps some Santa Fe reader would enlighten us?
I found a number of assertions that this was an order by a Federal Judge, but I have found no citation of the case or ruling so I can't look that up nor discover why it would be a Federal matter to begin with. Apparently the school system tried to impose some security searches as part of Prom Night, one supposes in response to a perceived need. I fear I never thought about any of this. I never heard of being searched on prom night, not when I was in school and not when my four boys were in school. It just didn't happen. There must have been incidents, either in Santa Fe or nationwide causing enough concern to make it look like a good idea to the Santa Fe school system. My neighbors daughter goes to her Prom this weekend; I'll have to ask whether they do this kind of thing in Los Angeles schools. I'm pretty sure they don't at Notre Dame, but again I may be well behind the times.
In any event the Santa Fe school system mandated searches and hired a private security firm to conduct them, and some of the Prom ladies sued the private agents, and a judge -- all the reports say a Federal judge but it seems unlikely -- ordered that future searches be supervised by TSA or TSA supervisors or some such, presumably on the grounds that TSA is expert on how to do effective but non-tort-injurious searches. (I presume the court has some evidence for that presumption.) But all this is speculation and is taking more time than it is worth. This isn't a national plot to have TSA take over high school Prom searches. It might be a local judge not too familiar with TSA trying to settle a perplexing matter. But that's a guess.
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