THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 565 April 6 - 12, 2009
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April 6, 2009
Yesterday we drove up to the high desert for our granddaughter's first birthday. I'll have a picture of her first cake shortly, but just now I am catching up. We drove back this morning. It's a long trip, and a bit tiring. And I have the column to get polished and ready to go up tomorrow.
I continue to follow President Obama's continuing campaign with some amazement. I presume he has an objective in mind, but I don't understand what it is, Then again I don't really understand the new administration's foreign policy objectives. I do think that, given how little the other nations contribute to US goals in Iraq and Afghanistan, it may be time to reconsider that particular entangling alliance. NATO was created during the Seventy Years War AKA The Cold War for a specific purpose, keeping the Red Army from driving to the Rhine and beyond. When the Soviet Union came apart some of us wondered why NATO should continue. It seems even less relevant to US goals today. This is an "alliance" in which most of the "allies" contribute very little, while it commits the US to a very great deal.
George Washington advised the US to avoid entangling alliances, and to stay out of the territorial disputes of Europe. That advice suited us well in the early days of the Republic, and seems relevant now. Perhaps I haven't studied the matter sufficiently, but I really don't see what it is that we get from NATO. Or even what NATO is for. It's pretty clear what the NATO Allies get: they can afford a socialist government since their defense costs are tiny. The return to the American taxpayers isn't so clear.
Our new defense budget may reflect some coming changes in that.
Larry Summers may be the smartest guy in the Obama Administration. I know little about him except that he managed to lose the confidence of the Harvard Faculty. A friend sent these:
I have no direct data. Summers has a very important position and great influence over US economic policy.
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The columns is done. Haruna Williams, please send me a valid address.
It's time for our morning walk, return later.
I couldn't resist this one: my grand daughter's first birthday and her first experience of cake...
It all happened some time ago. I remember most of the story, except that this one doesn't have Dick Feynman in it, and is a little skimpy on software problems encountered in massively parallel computing systems. (And see below)
I probably should have spent the time thinking about current news, but in fact I find myself unable to understand what President Obama is campaigning for. Surely he doesn't believe in universal nuclear disarmament as a practical policy? I thought we went through most of that a long time ago; I was director of a whole bunch of studies analyzing the conditions required for both nuclear disarmament and General and Complete Disarmament. Many of the problems of those times are gone along with the Soviet Union and the end of chiliastic communism in China, but they've been replaced with other general chaos. Fortunately, I doubt the Congress will allow actual unilateral disarmament.
It is very much time for the US to decide what the Legions are for. What are our foreign policy objectives? Which ones require military power? What kind of military power? There has been no real national debate on this matter, and it's time we had one. Where is the USA going? Are we a Republic guarding our own interests, or something else?
April 8, 2009
Four trillion dollars to be spent, but 10% unemployment projected. The Congressional Black Caucus has visited Cuba and is impressed with the sincerity and good will of Fidel Castro. Fidel wants Obama to succeed, and asks how he can help.
Now if anything has ever been clear, it's that the US embargo on Cuba hasn't worked very well. Its origins are from the Cold War when Cuba was a Soviet ally 90 miles off shore, Now that there is no Soviet Union -- indeed, Cuba is one of the last of the old Soviet style dictatorships -- it is past time for a new look at US Caribbean policy. Just what does the embargo do for US national interests?
We have a new letter from England regarding multi-culturalism. See mail.
It is a good story, and completes part of the Thinking Machines picture.
April 9, 2009
It is now over one month since we had an official sunspot. http://www.solarcycle24.com/ Has the Sun gone out? We think we understand where the missing solar neutrinos went -- the theory was wrong so there we shouldn't expect them -- but I've seen nothing that convinces me that the current solar neutrino theory is any better than the old one. (I hasten to add that I am hardly an expert on the subject; I just worry when a major problem is solved by announcing that there wasn't a problem in the first place.)
Information wants to be free, and the newspaper industry found out the
hard way that this was a formula for suicide. First banner ads, then
classifieds went dry. There's talk of charging for information now.
This place continues on the Public Radio model: it's free but it exists on subscriptions. My thanks to all who subscribe and renew their subscriptions. Special thanks to the Platinum subscribers who let me choose projects to work on (although this week the IRS has pretty well determined what I'll spend my time doing...)For platinum subscription:
April 10, 2009
Having fun with taxes yet? It's Good Friday, and I took the day off. I did post some mail.
April 11, 2009
I have taken the day off.
April 12, 2009
Happy Easter. Our church was packed this morning. I have never seen such a large crowd.
The piracy has ended, with credit to the US Navy. President Obama comes off well, having given command authority to those on the scene. The message is that hijacking a US flag ship is probably not a good way to make a living.
The long term solution to the Somalia piracy problem would be to have NATO enforce the Somali fishing rights so that Somali fishermen would have something legal to do for a living: the Somali waters are pretty well fished out by hi-tech fleets from other countries, and there is no Somali navy or coast guard to either prevent that or collect some fees for what is caught. Confiscating some of the foreign fishing ships that over-fish Somali waters would make a big difference. Unfortunately, much -- perhaps most -- of the fishing on Somali waters is done by Chinese ships. China would veto any UN action, and NATO isn't likely to get into a war with China over Somali fishing rights. I understand that Italian fishing boats also operate in Somali waters; so Italy isn't eager to be involved, either.
There is a mixed bag of mail.
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.
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