THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 518 May 12 - 18, 2008
Highlights this week:
For boiler plate, search engine, and notes on what in the world this place is, see below.
For Previous Weeks of the View, SEE VIEW HOME PAGE
If you intend to send MAIL to me, see the INSTRUCTIONS.
This is a Day Book. Pages are in chronological, not blogological order.
May 12, 2008
Midnight. I'm about to go to bed. We're driving back up to Chaos Manor in the morning, so this is not likely to be updated until evening Monday.
0945 Dismantling the system. Back on line this evening.
1445: Back at Chaos Manor, all is well, but it was a tiring trip. There's a lot to do here.
I am sure I have mentioned this before, but this is very much worth reading on Solar Cycles and probable futures for Canada and the Unites States. "The next few years are probably not a good time to be a grain farmer in northern Canada...":
What are the responsibilities of the people of these United States?
Last night, 60 Minutes had a segment on the supposedly horrible problems of the Immigration Detention system and health service. One of the victims was a woman from Somalia who came uninvited to the US, and asked for sanctuary. Note that she had no visa, she had no papers, she had only an airplane ticket.
She was put into detention while her case was examined. She got sick while there, or she had a pre-existing condition. She claims to have got inadequate medical attention. Eventually she was released (granted sanctuary, presumably) and got her condition taken care of, and is now suing. Precisely why the taxpayers of the US should pay her lawyer (and perhaps her) was not made clear.
Another man was an illegal immigrant convicted on drug charges who got a heart condition while in detention and died. One presumes that he could have left detention by volunteering to be deported, but he didn't. His family is now suing me -- well the taxpayers of the United States.
There is a UN resolution to require Myanmar (Burma) to accept aid workers and aid. If anyone is going to force the military government in Rangoon (or whatever name they now give that city) to accept aid, it is likely to be the US (although it might be interesting to see Her Majesty's Gurhkas reenact the Grave of the Hundred Head as part of an aid program.
Now I understand that the US is offering aid to China because of the earthquake, although there is no evidence that the Chinese government has asked for any.
Now no one questions the motives of those who want to help in Burma, and there's no question that the US military is probably the organization best trained and equipped to deal with a disaster of this magnitude. And I make no doubt that if you took a referendum on the matter, a majority of taxpayers would agree to send the military in to help the Burmans.
My question, though, is just how far does the responsibility of the US go? To give expensive health care to anyone who shows up at a US airport? To send tax supported aid anywhere there is a disaster? To send in the Army if the aid is refused? Shooting our way in to set up Red Cross shelters does seem a bit drastic. It might work with Burma (although I am not sure that it would add a lot to our reputation). Fortunately it hasn't been suggested that we use military force to require China to accept our help.
I can't say I know the answer to this question, but it is interesting. Just what do we owe, and to whom?
Did you subscribe and never hear from me? Click here!.
|This week:||Tuesday, May
It's another day I'd as soon spend in bed. I have got to find more energy.
Dr. Spencer, my primary physician, called yesterday. My blood work shows my sugar is all right, my kidneys are ok, and my cholesterol is still too high. All within reason. I see the oncologist next Monday, and I will probably make an appointment with Dr. Spencer after that.
My chief problem is malaise, and given my temperament I am inclined to call that funk or just old fashioned laziness, especially since everyone tells me how much better I look. But will power goes only so far. I wish I had a magic bullet to get my energy levels back up. There's just too much to do.
I have a number of letters about McCain and why we ought to vote Libertarian and "Send a message." I understand the argument.
The fact is that the Democrats will control Congress. If they also control the White House, we will have a series of legislative packages that will make the Great Society look like a libertarian government. In opposition the Republicans rediscover their principles; it's power they haven't been able to handle since Newt Gingrich was Speaker.
The country is in trouble. We have forgotten our founding principles, and we move inexorably toward a European style socialist state, with the only winners being an enormous bureaucracy. This will accelerate the economic decline.
The argument is to give the Democrats their head, and pick up the pieces after the inevitable crash. I think that overlooks the resilience of tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect regimes. We haven't seen much in the way of reforms in Europe. The Democrats will create new bureaucracies that can never be dismantled: an example is the Department of Education. Reagan came into office determined to abolish it. Now it owns US education, and No Child Left Behind is entrenched. The Iron Law of Bureaucracy is inexorable.
The country was reasonably well managed when we had a Republican Congress and a Democrat President.
As to the war: if we give the Democrats full control of the government, we won't get a sensible foreign policy: see Kosovo if you doubt that. We may get a disengagement from Iraq: the price will be high, in blood of those in Iraq who trusted us, and in honor. We may not. Disengaging from Iraq will not be a simple matter. A gradual withdrawal won't work well: as we pull out, the insurgents will be heartened. The result won't be pretty.
Sure, we can retreat. We have the military power to cut and run, get out and get out fast. The results of that will be with us for a long time. Recall the last helicopter out of Saigon?
I conclude that McCain as president is a far lesser evil than Obama would be. But there are those in whom hope springs eternal: who hold the view that Obama is not what all the evidence says he is, a left wing liberal intellectual with Chicago political connections and all the ethical implications that implies. Hope springs eternal.
Thus we have the choice: a Chicago machine politician with Harvard liberal beliefs vs. a country club Republican who feels entitled.
The post-Gingrich Republicans who invented "big government conservatism" have much to answer for.
For an argument about Iraq and what to do, see
I keep wondering what I would do if I were proclaimed Caesar. I may write on that subject.
Got up late, went back to bed, got up and took my walk. Arthritis in hip, head ringing, and yet everyone tells me how great I look. Now if I just had the gumption to actually do something. Have to admit taking the walk helped a lot. Everyone tells me this is standard for recovering from radiation treatments. I suppose that's true, but my temperament is such that if I'm not accomplishing anything it puts me in a deeper funk than ever. Sigh.
I have a bunch of things I have to get done. I'll get back to this page later. Apologies.
Regarding subscriptions, the Subscribe button takes you to the first part of the process, but you still have to do 'checkout' or find some other way to actually send money. Every day I get several of the first part of the subscription, but Paypal doesn't show any receipts, and the message section doesn't mention any other form of payment. Hate to be crass, but a subscription without payment isn't really...
I am working on essays, and on getting the column caught up.
Meanwhile if you are looking for something to do, see Ironman. It's well
done, and they have found Gwyneth Paltrow a way to be an ingénue again at
her age and still be very believable. It's a good role for her, and it can't
hurt her career that after she took some time off to marry and be a mother
she's now in a movie that's making runaway receipts... Not everyone is happy
with her role, though.
I keep telling myself that I'll get a burst of energy and catch up on all the stuff I have to do. Real Soon Now. Thanks for staying with me.
May 15, 2008
Trying to catch up.
Greg Cochran tells me that Rosenberg and I are starting at shadows, and there is no probability that Iran will acquire nuclear weapons and use them in an irrational manner. I sure hope he's right. See Mail.
With luck I'll get some of my work done. Intel has sent me the latest and greatest motherboard and chip. I have Eric coming to help me build a proper machine from those. It should fly...
My apologies to readers and subscribers. I can get about one thing done each day, and not a lot more. I just run out of energy.
The radio talk shows are giggling about "toilet to tapwater" and recycling water, which is odd. Every city that gets its water from a river is bringing in used water, of course. In the 1970's at least the cleanest running stream in California was the outfalls of the Hyperion sewage treatment plant. That may or may not be true now, but it was then.
In those days my solution to the water problem was not more aqueducts and importing more water, but taking the treated sewage and pumping it up into the San Gabriels to run down the old watercourses and soak in; it would fill the natural water table (you'd need some catchment basins, but that's easy enough to do) and be a lot cheaper than bringing in more water from the Owens Valley. Of course no one took me seriously.
Mayor Tony Villars wants you to drink his poop water, says our local talk show. Well, that's one way to put it. But I do note that the molecules of the water you drink have probably been used before, and probably have been through the intestines of many animals as well as people.
You either believe in rational discussion or you don't. It appears t0 me that not many do.
If only I had been able to talk with Hitler, perhaps he would not have decided to invade Poland...
Of course Chamberlain had talked with Hitler, and had his signature on a paper. He brought home Peace In Our Time, didn't he?
Definitely go to college. You can learn so much, about, for instance, science:
I found this interesting because Richard Feynman tried to get me on the faculty at Cal Tech to teach a seminar on Technology and Civilization, which I suspect is at least related to science and society. I do not think what I would have taught would have included much of "science studies" whatever that is. I feel am far behind the times.
Now. aren't you sorry you didn't go to Dartmouth, where you could learn such things? Meanwhile they have once again raised the tuition at UC and Cal State. Precisely why they need so much money that no one can go to college without taking out enormous loans is never explained nor, so far as I can tell, even asked by the legislature which continues to pump money to the education system without looking at the results.
The university system is severely broken.
May 16, 2008
A decent night, and I feel pretty good this morning. The radiation burn symptoms are fading, my voice is better, and I woke up ready to actually get something done today. Eric is here and I'll get him building the new hot Intel system (and then the Core 2 Quad "sweet spot", or that one first if I have to get parts for the new system). If anyone is thinking of subscribing this is a good time: in all fairness I have to pay Eric for the work.
His first task is to specify what we need to build a system worthy of Intel's latest and greatest; what I have is essentially a XEON set for consumers: a gamer machine dream. We're not happy with Intel's chip cooler, and we'll be getting a better one; and for the first iteration we'll probably use a dinky video processor until I get one of the latest and greatest. All told we'll be putting together a system anyone would love, thanks to Intel. We'll have that done pretty quick.
We had a good walk. The degenerative arthritis symptoms are today worse than the tumor symptoms. I can hope that lasts.
I now have the cover copy for Exile -- And Glory, which includes the High Justice story collection and the novel Exiles to Glory. They're about an all too likely (and very grim) future on Earth, and adventures in space. I have to say the cover copy makes me want to write another book or two in that series, and I probably will. Indeed, I am tempted to make LisaBetta happen in that world. It's not all that unlikely, even if I did write these quite a while ago.
The only problem with reusing an older universe is that there are inevitably some conflicts with events that have happened since that time. I suppose I don't dare actually do that; I'll probably have to invent something. One problem is that I very much like the characters in the Laurie Jo universe. I wonder if it's legitimate to extract the characters and change some of the back story?
In any event, I'm feeling better. I've also got to get to work or I'll starve.
To pre-order the book
1530: The Intel Extreme system needs some components we don't have, but we will shortly have a new sweet spot quad system.
Next thing is to get the Mac expert in to rationalize the Mac equipment we've got and install all the latest and greatest.
I am still puzzled as to why the iPhone logs on to the Wi-Fi network and doesn't use it; in order to use Safari or get stock updates, I have to turn Wi-Fi off. This doesn't make sense and I intend to get to the Apple Store next week and have their geniuses tell me what's going wrong here.
I had visitors re: fiction -- Graves is working with Adastra Games to catalog characters and plot elements in the Janissaries series as well as some of my other works -- and that has been a bit exhausting. But at least I got something done today. I wish I could have kept it up all afternoon, but at least I'm feeling productive.
If you have ever had any confidence in the State of California being even marginally honest, read
and think on it. You might also decide that a safe deposit box is not in fact a good idea. Perhaps a fireproof safe in your own home would be safer, despite the cost? California has spent $5 billion of other people's money, and has no way to return it. Welcome to the modern world.
|This week:||Saturday, May
I guess I am paying for my good day yesterday. Today I could hardly get out of bed.
Eric has got a new sweet spot Core 2 Quad system going, and I'll try to get up the gumption to do things with it. And I've done some mail for today, with a section on education and the Iron Law. So the day isn't wasted, but I confess all I really want to do is lie down.
My neighbor Ed Begley Jr. is consistent: he has lived green since he moved into the neighborhood. In 1990 he put up solar panels, and over the years he has added a windmill and other devices. He installed all this in 1990, and he claims to have become profitable last year. I haven't been over the math including lost investment costs, but I have no reason to disbelieve him. Ed is as honest a man as I know. He's also the nicest guy in the neighborhood.
Ed believes in global warming but in my experience he's not a nut on the subject: he thinks the green life is worth doing for many reasons, and that America has an enormous market in Asia selling cleanup technology. And like Amory Lovins Ed thinks there are economic advantages to living green.
His wife Rachelle isn't quite as enamoured of the green life as Ed is, and she gets to tell her side of the story in Ed's latest book, Living Like Ed. Some of her stories are hilarious. If you have ever been curious about what it's like to live the green life, Ed Begley's book will tell you. It's an easy read.
Roberta has opera tonight. That is, we have tickets, but I've seen this production of Tosca many times, and I'm not feeling all that good; so she's taking her friend.
We have a lot of good mail that I am going to save for Monday, since weekend mail tends to get lost. Don't miss Monday's mail. Even when I am not in as good a form as I would like, my mail section tends to be about the best on the Internet. I can say so without braggadocio since I only attract it, not write it.
Thanks to all those who continue to subscribe and renew during that rather dark time.
May 18, 2008
.A long day. Since we were in San Diego for the calendar Mother's Day, the boys came over plus Herrin brought the new granddaughter. A good day that left no time for much else.
Oncologist appointment tomorrow.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the weekly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
If you have no idea what you are doing here, see the What is this place?, which tries to make order of chaos.
If you subscribed:
If you didn't and haven't, why not?
Strategy of Technology in pdf format:
For the BYTE story, click here.
Search: type in string and press return.
The freefind search remains:
Entire Site Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 by Jerry E. Pournelle. All rights reserved.