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Mail 148 April 8 - 15, 2000 

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This week:



Monday  April 9, 2001

>One of the consequences of the old IBM "plug compatible" cases was that patents that prevent computer equipment from working with rival equipment were pretty well voided. I am no lawyer but I would be surprised if a patent that prevented someone else's chips from being compatible in an Intel socket would be enforceable.

Nor would I think it good politics for Intel to try.>

Since, in fact, no company but Intel made processors compatible with Slot 1. Your remark is obviously untrue. I believe that the reason they were able to achieve and maintain this virtual monopoly is due to the fact that Intel patented the electrical interface, the "bus" specification so that anyone who tried to make a slot 1 compatible processor had to be able to license the interface. Note that Intel refused to grant such licenses to any company then manufacturing processors ;AMD, Cyrix, Nexgen, and the Winchip people were all limited to designing processors for the Socket 7 platform, which was an extension to the older Intel Socket 6 spec- and was created in reaction to the advent of Slot1.

It is only now, since AMD has been able to create a brand new PC interface standard, based on the bus for the Apha processor, that Intel is allowing Via, who acquired what was left of Cyrix and the Winchip outfit, ( my brain refuses to produce the company name) to produce processors compatible with the current, and now low end, Socket 370 Intel standard. AMD bought Nexgen.and was able to produce the K7, aka Athlon, based on Nexgen's initial design and make a profit after 4 YEARS of steady losses. It is still a wonder to me that they managed to remain solvent long enough to do it at all.

If not for Intel's determination. to force the RAMBUS memory standard on the public before it was economical to produce, Intel would, by now, own not just the PC processor market, but also the vast majority of the motherboard and chipset markets as well- and AMD's efforts would, most likely, again have been too little and too late.

You're entirely correct about one thing though, it WAS bad politics for Intel to try. Now they ARE paying the price and their stockholders will suffer right along with them..

Isn't competition wonderful?



Well, I said 'enforceable" but of course that's ambiguous: a legal fight with Intel probably wouldn't have been a good idea. But I still suspect that a patent that restricts competition like that won't be enforced by the courts.

On the other hand, it turns out that given the memory confusion AMD with the Compaq/DEC Alpha Bus and DDRAM may have come up with a more competitive position than they would following Intel. We will see. 

But yes, competition is grand.

Jerry :

Your spouse Roberta might be interested in an article in today's New York Times on reading comprehension, noting that the gap between the best and the worst is widening. The link is : 

Given the note you posted this week about Roberta Pournelle's reading program (I don't know what title she prefers before her name - please forgive the lack of title), the implications of this article might be quite timely. I know that I observe a definite drop in quality in the mid-range student and below from years gone past, but I had taken this to be more personal observation. The article indicates to me it may not just be my perception.

I also noted that the website you linked has Mac and DOS versions of the reading program. Is the Windows version available at this time? I have several friends with children who I might like to point to the program.

As always, thanks for your observations and thoughts. I may not always agree with your position(s), but I do look forward to reading them. Thought requires both stimulus and irritation, and you provide the former, while the world as a whole provides the latter!

John Palmer

We saw that and I expect she'll have things to say. For me it comes down to nonsense to begin with. 

With a phonetic language you can either read or you can't. By read I mean look at a word like Constantinople or polytheism or antidestablishmentarianism and say it. You may not know what it MEANS; that's a matter of vocabulary; but you can READ it. When English is taught phonetically then a pupils reading vocabulary and speaking vocabulary are the same.

But with ideographic languages you may know the word and know its meaning but you cannot READ it. When English is taught by "whole language" or "whole word" or "sight reading" it is  being taught ideographically, which requires books that have a controlled vocabulary. Kids can't read a book and infer what a word means (as I did with "Narrative continued by Dr. Livesay" In Treasure Island -- I never heard the word narrative before but it wasn't too hard to figure out, and I could read the book which I did in about 4th grade and loved it).

So when they talk about "improvements in reading" I don't know what they mean without looking at the study itself, and as to reading at a certain grade level that is nonsense. They may have vocabulary at a particular grade level but they can either READ or they CANNOT READ, and alas all too many simply can't read. They were never taught how. They read English as if it were Chinese. American professors of education have managed to set literacy back about 3,000 years. Quite a feat.

From Roland Dobbins:

Subject: A litany of on-orbit computer/networking problems.

It's really interesting to parse through these logs, realizing that SSC, OCP, etc. are ridiculous NASA acronyms for run-of-the-mill networking systems. One thing that worries me is that apparently NASA are putting email to/from the station on Outlook using .PST files - makes absolutely no sense. Search the first log (December 2000) for "outlook", heh. Roland Dobbins <> 

Heh. If that was the worst thing NASA did...


I should first mention that I've never seen your disappearing taskbar issue, and I've been pounding on Beta 2 for a couple weeks now. I also don't recall seeing any threads on the topic, either. I don't use tray auto-hide though, which if you do, I imagine might be related to the problem.

As for the 256-color issue, a recent MS post stated this below. The software compatibility patches he's referring to will be similar to the ones regularly released for Win2000 via Windows Update or at this link.  

"Programs that need 256 color or 640x480 really do need to switch the resolutions for themselves. The software compatibility patches will do this automatically for some common software packages. In the final version, other software can have this turned on in the Compatibility tab."

Rick Seiler

I got those updates but so far no possibility of changing to 256 colors. Possibly in the final release it will work in the compatibility mode.

The reason CNW won't run under XP is because IIRC, CNW is a DOS program, not a Windows program. The problem is, XP is based on NT - which doesn't let DOS-mode programs have access to the machine's hardware. This means that a lot of older game programs won't work under XP, since they require direct access to the hardware.

Even though I'm running Win2k, I have a Win98SE partition being kept around just for games - I'm thinking about regressing it to a Win95B partition.

Thane Walkup 

US EPA Region 10 PC Support Staffed by ISS (425)553-4958

"It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens that, whatever you say to them they always purr." - Lewis Carrol

ANd it may come to that. But WING programs won't run either. And how hard would it be for them to have a DOS Command Window for things like CNW?  Or perhaps it wouldn't be possible.  Progress. But I may just keep W 98 too.

And now for a really important subject:


You mentioned the things you do for your back. I think I am following along your health trajectory, but some years behind (born in '42).

What are you doing that is back specific? In particular, what stretching are you doing?...thanks...

jim dodd

The first and most important thing to do is get hold of a large format "quality paperback" book called STRETCHING by a couple named Anderson. You can find it on Amazon. Get that and follow instructions. 

Then take up walking. The easiest way to do that is to get a Siberian Husky. He'll see to it that you walk a lot.

From Ed Hume:

Written by Jack Riemer, Houston Chronicle

* The Master Violinist *

On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City. If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches.

To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an unforgettable sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.

By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play.

But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap. It went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do. People who were there that night thought to themselves:

"We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage either to find another violin or else find another string for this one."

But he didn't. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before.

Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, recomposing the piece in his head. At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.

When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.

He smiled, wiped the sweat from this brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone, "You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."

I think of nothing to add to that.

And from Roland:

Subject: I'm sure the hax0rs will just -love- this . . .,4586,2705807,00.html 

Ah well.

This was sent for alt.mail and probably should go there, but it's time it was posted:

Dear Jerry:

Looked at the discussions of local variation and tolerance, and saw some interesting points.

In historical perspective, I think one can say that the growth of religious tolerance was due not so much to any conviction that tolerance as such was righteous -- that came later -- but simply to the collapse of really fervent religious belief among the elites of Western civilization.

Louis XIV and his ministers thought it worthwhile to expell the Hugenots, despite the financial and military harm this did to France and the strengthening of France's enemies who took the refugees in.

His grandson's minister, when asked why he was pushing to remove the remaining punitive laws directed at French Protestants, replied (working from memory, but I think this is fairly accurate):

"I am a minister of the King of France, not councilor to the Pope. These people are valuable subjects whose presence increases my master's revenue and strengthens his armies. As for their religion, so long as men worship the State, let them have what lesser gods they will."

In other words, generally speaking human beings will willingly tolerate differences only on issues which they consider secondary, or where they think their opponents are too weak to make any real difference.

When fundamental issues -- issues stemming from incommesurate value systems and basic a-priori assumptions -- collide, sooner or later one side or the other has to go to the wall, be defeated, and forced to conform. They're talking different moral languages, but the universal language is the spear.

Eg., when the US was formed, the framers of its constitution found a broad measure of agreement on what the men of the time considered the fundamental issues; for example, they all preferred a republic to a monarchy, supported the right of property, etc.

Protestant churches had generally long since ceased to care desperately about their sectarian rivalries, and virtually everyone in the US at the time was of Protestant background; Catholics and Jews together were less than 2%. As the nativist agitation of the next few generations showed, the presence of Roman Catholics in any numbers was still regarded as a threat to the regime, but even that feeling faded as confidence in revealed "truth" diminished.

On the other hand, when the Mormons espoused doctrines and practices which really got the majority's goat, they were relentlessly persecuted, driven out, and then coerced into changing their theology by use of the Federal military.

Despite the attention given to big state vs. small state and central vs. localist positions, the only issues which really threatened to wreck the constitutional convention were disputes over slavery -- South Carolina and Georgia flatly stated that they wouldn't sign if the slave trade was banned at once, for example.

So everyone essentially agreed to fudge the issue in the hope that it would go away; it didn't, and in the end had to be settled the way fundamental issues usually are.

That is to say, by power.

Nobody will give up a really fundamental interest or belief just because they lose an election, as the South demonstrated in 1861; only a forceful demonstration that there is absolutely no choice in the matter will settle that sort of question.

This doesn't mean that elections can't settle such issues; merely that one of the results of the election has to be control of the 'means of coercion'.

Yours, Steve Stirling

Well, you can also posit that one reason nations can hold together is that there is a limit to the power of government to coerce unity. The Swiss found they could live with four languages and two confessions, given the alternatives. The US found it could live half slave and half free given the alternative; by 1860 it was pretty clear that no foreign power would colonize the US and at that point the slavery issue became more important than the Union. At least to some. 

(I was taught in Tennessee public schools that the limits to Federal taxation and tariff powers were the real causes of The War; but of course Tennessee wasn't all that dependent on a slave economy compared to, say, Louisiana. But it is certainly the case that the taxes were collected in the South and spent in the North or on the Navy which was itself used to enforce the tariffs...)

The real question is just how much liberty is worth. And there are limits to coercion as Diocletion found...

This next is long but it does have some information:

Subject: Spam law

I'm subscribed to the "HTML Goodies" newsletter, which is often a source of interesting stuff. Here's some stuff that might be of interest to you and/or your readers.

..........Karl Lembke

======begin cut-and-paste====

Now onto today's topic...

I opened a piece of Spam mail this morning and got this:

>>Under Bill s.1618 Title III passed by the 105th U.S. >>Congress this mail cannot be considered Spam as long as >>we include contact information and removal instructions >>for removing you from our mailing list. To be removed >>from our mailing list, reply with REMOVE in the subject >>heading and your email address in the body, and include >>complete address and/or domain to be removed. <<

Have you received an email with one of these statements yet?

Let me see if I can translate it for you.

>>We are going to send you a ton of email whether you like it or not. Get off our backs. If you don't like it, get yourself off our lists.<<

Does that sound about right?

Well then! I guess I'd better read it. The information contained herein must be of some importance since the information has the A-OK under federal law.

Wait. Federal law?

If I remember my Saturday morning School House Rock episode correctly, for something to become a law, it has to be passed by both the House AND the Senate plus a really important person has to sign it.

It must be a law then, right? The Spammers are using it. They wouldn't lie, would they?

It would seem that enough time has passed for the president to sign the bill into law. It's been two years. We're in the 107th Congress now. I've never heard of a law allowing people to Spam me.

Hey - wait a minute. Maybe there never was a Bill S1618. I mean, it's not a law.


There was a bill S1618 back in 1998. It passed by a 99-0 voice vote. It's called the "Anti-Slamming Amendments Act". There was even a House of Representatives equal to it, HR3888. It also passed.

The Senate version of the bill stated that S1618 was, "To amend the Communications Act of 1934 to improve the protection of consumers against `slamming' by telecommunications carriers, and for other purposes."

Hey! Wait a minute.


Is the Congress a bunch of really poor me?

I thought this was a bill about Spamming.

Well, it is. It's just not the main push of the bill. You don't get to "Spamming" until title three. It's right in there between "Switchless Resellers" and "Miscellaneous Provisions". The Spamming section is an amendment to the amendment. There were actually four versions of bill S1618. The Spamming section didn't show up until the third incarnation. (Source: )

But still, it was passed. It was passed containing the Spamming amendment so it's on the books so we all have to receive the Spam emails sent to us by people we don't even know as long as the Spammers follow S1618 Title III outlined below:




(a) INFORMATION TO BE INCLUDED IN TRANSMISSIONS- (1) IN GENERAL- A person who transmits an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message shall cause to appear in each such electronic mail message the information specified in paragraph (2). (2) COVERED INFORMATION- The following information shall appear at the beginning of the body of an unsolicited commercial electronic mail message under paragraph (1): (A) The name, physical address, electronic mail address, and telephone number of the person who initiates transmission of the message. (B) The name, physical address, electronic mail address, and telephone number of the person who created the content of the message, if different from the information under subparagraph (A). (C) A statement that further transmissions of unsolicited commercial electronic mail to the recipient by the person who initiates transmission of the message may be stopped at no cost to the recipient by sending a reply to the originating electronic mail address with the word `remove' in the subject line. (b) ROUTING INFORMATION- All Internet routing information contained within or accompanying an electronic mail message described in subsection (a) must be accurate, valid according to the prevailing standards for Internet protocols, and accurately reflect message routing. (c) EFFECTIVE DATE- The requirements in this section shall take effect 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act.


In other words, include the paragraph that started off this newsletter and offer a viable method to getting your name off of the Spammer's list. Do that, and you can Spam away because technically what you're sending cannot be considered Spam.

This sounds too bad to be true.

Great! Just great! Now I have to allow a ton of Spam to come flying through my front door and I have to read it all because the Spammers have the power of the U.S. Government behind them. It just cheeses me off. I

Wait. What's this?

S1618 died in committee?

That means that it's null and void? It's dead? It doesn't have any power?

Oh. The Spammer never bothered to tell me that.

Never mind.

I'll just go delete that piece of mail.


(The death of S1618 in committee: Source: )


That's that. Thanks for reading.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And Remember: The "Bill" in the School House Rock cartoon was voiced by Jack Sheldon. The music and lyrics were by Dave Frishberg

He signed you Bill. You're a Law!

Oh Yeah!

Please visit






This week:




After some exchange of letters on Greg Cochran's theory of insanity as an inheritable disease Ed Hume says:

And I have greatly reduced shaking hands. I heard years ago that the common cold is passed this way almost as much as through air-to-air transmission.

As for psychiatric disorders being infectious, it doesn't seem to be something that affects everyone in a classic way. However, it does seem to occur. For example, in the 1960's schizophrenia was unknown in the interior of Papua new Guinea. By the 1980's, after civilization had arrived there, schizophrenia had also arrived. The work was done by E. Fuller Torrey, who was my officemate at St Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Schizophrenia is interesting because the predisposition is clearly hereditary. However, who gets the disorder? Is it like diabetes, where a predisposition is inherited? In juvenile-onset diabetes, an infection triggers an autoimmune response that kills the insulin-making cells. In hepatitis C, the virus slowly kills the liver, In hepatitis B, on the other hand, it is the body's autoimmune response that kills the liver. Perhaps some cases of schizophrenia are autoimmune disorders.

We'll need more data. I sure hope that the govt is devoting enough cash for research in the area of covert infectious diseases.

The government spends a LOT of money, but I am not sure that schizophrenia is politically correct enough or has a large enough lobby, unlike some of the others. If the women can't get anything like as much research done on breast cancer as is being done on AIDS, what chance to schizzy's have?

This is long and likely to strike some as partison. It too comes from Ed Hume:

Speak Out

For 50 years, the Harvard Law School Forum has been sponsoring speeches by luminaries ranging from Fidel Castro to Gerald Ford to Dr. Ruth. Sometimes the speeches have generated a bit of media coverage, sometimes not. But one given last month by Charlton Heston has taken on a life of its own.

Heston, the actor and conservative activist, delivered a stem-winder to about 200 listeners about "a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart."

"He knew he was coming to a liberal environment, and clearly a group of his listeners was conservative and another was more liberal," said David Christopherson, president of the forum. "About half respectfully challenged him during the questions. It generated a lot of debate around the campus. But what happened caught us off-guard."

What happened was Rush Limbaugh's radio talk show. On March 15, Limbaugh read the entire speech on the air, only to find himself bombarded with thousands of requests for a copy of it. The same thing happened at Harvard Law.

"We couldn't keep up with all the requests," said Mike Chmura at Harvard. "It really didn't have legs and might have been forgotten if Mr. Limbaugh hadn't decided to deliver it."

'Winning the Cultural War'

- Charlton Heston's Speech to the Harvard Law School Forum, Feb 16, 1999

I remember my son when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class what his father did for a living. "My Daddy," he said, "pretends to be people." There have been quite a few of them. Prophets from the Old and New Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo.

If you want the ceiling repainted I'll do my best. There always seem to be a lot of different fellows up here. I'm never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right now, I guess I'm the guy.

As I pondered our visit tonight it struck me: If my Creator gave me the gift to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to use that same gift now to reconnect you with your own sense of liberty of your own freedom of thought ... your own compass for what is right.

Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, "We are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure." Those words are true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of liberty inside you ... the stuff that made this country rise from wilderness into the miracle that it is.

Let me back up. About a year ago I became president of the National Rifle Association, which protects the right to keep and bear arms. I ran for office, I was elected, and now I serve ... I serve as a moving target for the media who've called me everything from "ridiculous" and "duped" to a "brain-injured, senile, crazy old man." I know ... I'm pretty old ... but I sure, Lord, am not senile.

As I have stood in the crosshairs of those who target Second Amendment freedoms, I've realized that firearms are not the only issue. No, it's much, much bigger than that. I've come to understand that a cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor, certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated. For example, I marched for civil rights with Dr. King in 1963 - long before Hollywood found it fashionable. But when I told an audience last year that white pride is just as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride, they called me a racist. I've worked with brilliantly talented homosexuals all my life. But when I told an audience that gay rights should extend no further than your rights or my rights, I was called a homophobe. I served in World War II against the Axis powers. But during a speech, when I drew an analogy between singling out innocent Jews and singling out innocent gun owners, I was called an anti-Semite. Everyone I know knows I would never raise a closed fist against my country. But when I asked an audience to oppose this cultural persecution, I was compared to Timothy McVeigh.

>From Time magazine to friends and colleagues, they're essentially saying, "Chuck, how dare you speak your mind. You are using language not authorized for public consumption!" But I am not afraid. If Americans believed in political correctness, we'd still be King George's boys- subjects bound to the British crown.

In his book, "The End of Sanity," Martin Gross writes that "blatantly irrational behavior is rapidly being established as the norm in almost every area of human endeavor. There seem to be new customs, new rules, new anti-intellectual theories regularly foisted on us from every direction. Underneath, the nation is roiling. Americans know something without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it comes to separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong. And they don't like it."

Let me read a few examples. At Antioch college in Ohio, young men seeking intimacy with a coed must get verbal permission at each step of the process from kissing to petting to final copulation ... all clearly spelled out in a printed college directive. In New Jersey, despite the death of several patients nationwide who had been infected by dentists who had concealed their AIDs --- the state commissioner announced that health providers who are HIV-positive need not..... Need Not ..... tell their patients that they are infected.

At William and Mary, students tried to change the name of the school team "The Tribe" because it was supposedly insulting to local Indians, only to learn that authentic Virginia chiefs truly like the name.

In San Francisco, city fathers passed an ordinance protecting the rights of transvestites to cross-dress on the job, and for transsexuals to have separate toilet facilities while undergoing sex change surgery.

In New York City, kids who don't speak a word of Spanish have been placed in bilingual classes to learn their three R's in Spanish solely because their last names sound Hispanic.

At the University of Pennsylvania, in a state where thousands died at Gettysburg opposing slavery, the president of that college officially set up segregated dormitory space for black students. Yeah, I know ... that's out of bounds now. Dr. King said "Negroes." Jimmy Baldwin and most of us on the March said "black." But it's a no-no now. For me, hyphenated identities are awkward ... particularly "Native-American." I'm a Native American, for God's sake. I also happen to be a blood-initiated brother of the Miniconjou Sioux. On my wife's side, my grandson is a thirteenth generation native American ... with a capital letter on "American."

Finally, just last month ... David Howard, head of the Washington D.C. Office of Public Advocate used the word "niggardly" while talking to colleagues about budgetary matters. Of course, "niggardly" means stingy or scanty. But within days Howard was forced to publicly apologize and resign. As columnist Tony Snow wrote: "David Howard got fired because some people in public employ were morons who (a) didn't know the meaning of niggardly, (b) didn't know how to use a dictionary to discover the meaning, and (c) actually demanded that he apologize for their ignorance."

What does all of this mean? It means that telling us what to think has evolved into telling us what to say, so telling us what to do can't be far behind. Before you claim to be a champion of free thought, tell me: Why did political correctness originate on America's campuses? And why do you continue to tolerate it? Why do you, who're supposed to debate ideas, surrender to their suppression?

Let's be honest. Who here thinks your professors can say what they really believe? It scares me to death, and should scare you too, that the superstition of political correctness rules the halls of reason. You are the best and the brightest. You, here in the fertile cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles River, you are the cream. But I submit that you, and your counterparts across the land, are the most socially conformed and politically silenced generation since Concord Bridge. And as long as you validate that ... and abide it ... you are -- by your grandfathers' standards -- cowards.

Here's another example. Right now at more than one major university, Second Amendment scholars and researchers are being told to shut up about their findings or they'll lose their jobs. Why? Because their research findings would undermine big-city mayors' pending lawsuits that seek to extort hundreds of millions of dollars from firearm manufacturers.

I don't care what you think about guns. But if you are not shocked at that, I am shocked at you. Who will guard the raw material of unfettered ideas, if not you? Who will defend the core value of academia, if you supposed soldiers of free thought and expression lay down your arms and plead, "Don't shoot me."

If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist. If you see distinctions between the genders, it does not make you a sexist. If you think critically about a denomination, it does not make you anti-religion. If you accept but don't celebrate homosexuality, it does not make you a homophobe. Don't let America's universities continue to serve as incubators for this rampant epidemic of new McCarthyism.

But what can you do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation? The answer's been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, standing with Dr. Martin Luther King and two hundred thousand people. You simply ... disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely.

But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom. I learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr. King ... who learned it from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led those in the right against those with the might.

Disobedience is in our DNA. We feel innate kinship with that disobedient spirit that tossed tea into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the back of the bus, that protested a war in Viet Nam. In that same spirit, I am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience, rogue authority, social directives and onerous laws that weaken personal freedom.

But be careful ... it hurts. Disobedience demands that you put yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies. You must be willing to be humiliated ... to endure the modern-day equivalent of the police dogs at Montgomery and the water cannons at Selma. You must be willing to experience discomfort. I'm not complaining, but my own decades of social activism have taken their toll on me. Let me tell you a story.

A few years back I heard about a rapper named Ice-T who was selling a CD called "Cop Killer" celebrating ambushing and murdering police officers. It was being marketed by none other than Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world. Police across the country were outraged. Rightfully so -- at least one had been murdered. But Time/Warner was stonewalling because the CD was a cash cow for them, and the media were tiptoeing around it because the rapper was black. I heard Time/Warner had a stockholder meeting scheduled in Beverly Hills. I owned some shares at the time, so I decided to attend.

What I did there was against the advice of my family and colleagues. I asked for the floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I simply read the full lyrics of "Cop Killer" -- every vicious, vulgar, instructional word.


It got worse, a lot worse. I won't read the rest of it to you. But trust me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. The Time/Warner executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated me for that. Then I delivered another volley of sick lyric brimming with racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing two 12-year old nieces of Al and Tipper Gore.


Well, I won't do to you here what I did to them. Let's just say I left the room in echoing silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press corps, one of them said, "We can't print that."

"I know," I replied, "but Time/Warner's selling it." Two months later, Time/Warner terminated Ice-T's contract. I'll never be offered another film by Warner's, or get a good review from Time magazine. But disobedience means you must be willing to act, not just talk.

When a mugger sues his elderly victim for defending herself ... jam the switchboard of the district attorney's office.

When your university is pressured to lower standards until 80% of the students graduate with honors ... choke the halls of the board of regents.

When an 8-year-old boy pecks a girl's cheek on the playground and gets hauled into court for sexual harassment ... march on that school and block its doorways.

When someone you elected is seduced by political power and betrays you... petition them, oust them, banish them.

When Time magazine's cover portrays millennium nuts as deranged, crazy Christians holding a cross as it did last month ... boycott their magazine and the products it advertises.

So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed footsteps of the great disobedience's of history that freed exiles, founded religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands of an aroused rabble in arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country.

If Dr. King were here, I think he would agree.

Thank you.

And thank you, says I.

Remember when...

Close your eyes.....And go back in time....

Before the Internet or the Mac...

Before semi automatics and crack...

Before SEGA or Super Nintendo...

Go way back........

I'm talking about hide and seek at dusk.

The Dickie Dee man,

Red light, green light.

The corner store.

Hopscotch, butterscotch, doubledutch, jacks, kickball, dodgeball,

Mother... May I? Red Rover and Roly Poly

Hula Hoops

Running through the sprinkler

Wax lips and mustaches

An ice cream cone on a warm summer night

Chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or maybe butter pecan.

Wait...... there's more...

Watching Saturday Morning cartoons...short commercials, Fat Albert,

Road Runner, He-Man, The Three Stooges, and Bugs

Or staying up for Gunsmoke

When around the corner seemed far away,

And going downtown seemed like going somewhere.

A million mosquito bites.

Sticky fingers.

Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians, Zorro.

Climbing trees

Building igloos out of snow banks

Walking to school, no matter what the weather.

Running till you were out of breath

Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt

Jumping on the bed. Pillow fights

Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles.

Being tired from playing.... Remember that?

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.

War was a card game.

Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.

Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.

I'm not finished just yet...

Eating Kool-aid powder

Remember when...there were two types of sneakers for girls and boys (Keds, PF Flyers) and the only time you wore them at school, was for "gym."

It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends.

When nobody owned a purebred dog.

When a quarter was a decent allowance, and another quarter a miracle.

When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.

When nearly everyone's mom was at home when the kids got there.

It was magic when dad would "remove" his thumb.

When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.

When girls neither dated nor kissed until late high school, if then.

When any parent could discipline any kid, or feed him, or use him to carry groceries, and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.

When they threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed and did!

When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home.

Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn't because of drive -by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc.

Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! and some of us are still afraid of them!!!

Didn't that feel good.. just to go back and say, "Yeah, I remember that!"

Remember when............

Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo."

Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "do over!"

Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest.

Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly."

The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties.

It was unbelievable that dodgeball wasn't an Olympic event.

Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a slingshot.

Nobody was prettier than Mom.

Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.

Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin.

Ice cream was considered a basic food group.

Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.

Abilities were discovered because of a "double-dog-dare."

Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.

If you can remember most or all of these, then you have LIVED!!!!

Pass this on to anyone who may need a break from their "grown up" life...


Indeed. But that was in another country...



Dear Dr. Pournelle,

Your current problems with Microsoft software remind me of previous problems with Linux. The first time I installed Linux, it was an early version of Slackware on a non-Intel 386SX, with a non-Intel 387 chip, and whatever BIOS my local builder installed. I would give you brand names, but my brother has used this relic for years, and he lives elsewhere.

This was an earlier time. Windows 3.1 and Linux could both fit on a 512 MB IDE disk, and 8MB of memory would do the job. Following the Slackware instruction pamphlet carefully, I left Windows in the first primary partition, and attempted to put Linux and the swap space in extended partitions. I don't care what the instructions said, Linux required a Linux native partition and swap space on primary partitions. This problem did not happen on another computer I purchased a short time later, and never showed up on SCSI machines, including this same machine when I converted it to an Adaptec 1520 SCSI, which has its own BIOS.

Microsoft said long ago that they could not guarantee that their generic Windows 3.1/95/98/CE/ME/NT/XP/2000 would work with every combination of CPU, BIOS, and peripheral in existence. The Linux community tries hard, but they are always behind, and do not claim full compatibility anyway. I suspect you have found a combination that slipped through the Redmond tests, and the intermittent nature of your problems convinces me that Microsoft has stumbled yet again.

There are debugging experts that could pin down your problems, but they do not work for free, unless they are very close friends. I am not good at debugging, using substitution as my main tool, and lots of patience and logic to overcome a lack of funds. Pinning down intermittent plug-ins and faulty monitors has taken months with my small setup.


William L. Jones

The hardware in question is pretty standard, Intel Motherboard and CPU. I suspect there is some hardware problem but until I replace the machine and get a substitute running I can't take it apart.

Hey Jerry,

In a recent column you put in a plug for my favorite piece of freeware, IrfanView. I also consider it a "must have" on any system I work on, and enthusiastically recommend it to others. I just want to point you to another piece of freeware that I consider as essential: Note Tab Light ( ). The Light version is entirely free (no adware or such), while some more enhanced versions have a cost attached. To me, this application makes Notepad so far obsolete it isn't funny. Note Tab has everything I could ask for in a simple text editor, and far more.

As a standard disclaimer, I am in no was associated with the producer of the Note Tab software. I am just an extremely satisfied and enthusiastic user.

"Highly recommended" (to quote a popular author I know).


Mark Lovik

Agreed. I use Notetab and I like it a lot.

This guy seems to share your opinions on the cause of the "power crisis", I'm not sure I'd spend the kind of money he did but it's interesting. Although I don't think that the huge state subsidies he's recieved would remain available too long if lots of people signed up... 

Gabriel Underwood 





This week:



Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Will largely be taken up with taxes.

Regarding Greg Cochran's theory that many if not most psychiatric disorders are infectious diseases, this from psychiatrist Ed Hume:

And I have this query in response to your second paragraph (from a private discussion list) :

Are there old psychiatric diseases that appear to have largely died out, in the fashion of a germ-driven epidemic dying out? For example, what the heck was St. Vitus' Dance? It seems like it was a big deal in the Middle Ages. Is it still around but they just changed the name of it? Or has it faded significantly? -- Steve 

St Vitus' Dance is the twitching and restlessness that comes from a case of rheumatic fever. We see less of it because we treat cases of rheumatic fever with antibiotics these days. The modern name for the phenomenon is Huntington's chorea.


Which still leaves unanswered the question of whether there are psychiatric disorders which have gone away. Various dementias due to syphilis seem to be less common now, because antibiotics actually kill the spirochetes; but whether there will come a strain of syphilis resistant to antibiotics is another story. Some alcohol-related dementias are less common now than in the past because they were related to vitamin deficiencies, and we know how to compensate for that.

I don't think of any psychiatric disorders that might be due to an infectious disease that were formerly common but aren't so now, but I am hardly the right one to ask. It's a very interesting notion, though.

From: Stephen M. St. Onge

subject: diseases, real and imaginary

Dear Jerry:

The current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences  features an article linking schizophrenia with a retrovirus. Interesting support of Mr. Cochran's ideas, no?

Meanwhile, Cal Thomas reminds us of an LA Times story of Dec. 12th, shich said that "Tens of thousands of students in California's special education system have been placed there not because of a serious mental or emotional handicap, but because they were never taught to read properly." 

Best, Stephen

And This from Greg Cochran

It turns out that hepatitis C greatly increases your chance of type-II diabetes. There was a nice review article about this recently in Annals of Internal Medicine. Hepatitis C isn't common enough to cause a big fraction of type-II, but some other virus might be. Worth looking, but nobody has.

Schiz has always been a good candidate for infectious causation, but the case for homosexuality is much stronger. About five times as strong. So when are the SF writers going to wake up to this?

And the government spends almost all of its health research money in other ways. They're atheoretical.

Gregory Cochran

Taking Dawrinian evolution seriously is probably as dangerous in the US today as it was when the theory first came out. Certainly as politically incorrect...





One of my favorite Heinlein quotes is one he gave to Lazurus Long: The most dangerous person in the world is one out to do something for your own good.

State running background checks on new parents 

I can understand their rationale for wanting to do this. And in an ideal world it's the right thing to do. But in the real world that strikes me as a slippery slope.

Drake Christensen



I have considerable mail regarding my off-hand remarks on the causes of the War Between The States, otherwise known as The Civil War, or where I grew up, simply 'the war.' This one is typical:

My ancestors (from Pennsylvania) thought the abolition of slavery justified civil disobedience. Which is why they ran a station on the Underground Railway. Mechanics and small farmers in the North and South generally seemed to have believed slavery to be an _economic_ threat to their well-being. Perhaps they recognized the Roman example and feared the connection between slavery and imperialism.

-- --- Harry Erwin, PhD, Senior Lecturer of Computing, University of Sunderland. Computational neuroscientist modeling bat bioacoustics and behavior. <>

Now I make no doubt that most of those in the North who voluntarily fought in the Civil War believed that "as He died to make men holy let us die to make them free," but that is not quite the same thing as the actual cause of both the Secession and The War.  The Secession came in stages, beginning in the Deep South and taking considerable time to get to Virginia. Kentucky and Maryland given their free choice would have gone Confederate and were prevented from doing so largely by Federal occupation. Missouri might have gone either way.

But whether the primary issue was slavery is not so clear. Lincoln didn't think so; he thought the preservation of the Union the most important matter and would have made considerable concession on the slavery issue; it was the threat of the spread of slavery to new territories on the one hand and the growth of the numbers of free state representatives in Congress threatening the Southron status quo on the other that was the real issue. Congress didn't get around to abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia until the 13th Amendment, well after the Emancipation Proclamation, which itself freed no slaves at its time of issue.

And certainly many of the  Confederate officer corps thought they were fighting to preserve slavery: Nathan Bedford Forest said it bluntly when told that the war was over taxation and financial issues.

But Secession wasn't in response to any particular anti-slavery measures, nor to any threat that Lincoln would have freed the slaves, and while slavery was certainly the major issue dividing North from South, tariff  issues, particularly industrial protectionism, was very much at issue. Tariff kept the South from industrializing. The lack of industry kept the South agricultural. A plantation economy usually prevails over a small-holder peasant economy (as Rome found out), and the lack of industry was important. Industrial society wasn't suited to slavery, of course. William Lloyd Garrison used to regularly fire workers (without pension) when they reached age 45 since they were then too old to be productive worker in his mills. In the South the economic burden of supporting slaves too old to work was considerable; those who tried to evade it were subject to social opprobrium. Clearly the whole situation was unstable; in Germany Bismark faced many of the same problems in a society changing from rural to industrial, and came up with something like Social Security. It took the US considerably longer, in part because of the frontier; dissidents could go west rather than riot. 

There were Southern politicians who defended slavery as a positive good; perhaps many of them; but the main attitude was one of unease and a sense of impending doom. Most churchmen were against slavery, all were against the abuses,  and most slave owners were exhorted every Sunday. Philomen's Dilemma was a popular sermon topic.

I was taught in the Tennessee public schools that slavery was a necessary evil that would have fallen of its own weight had there been industrialization of the South, which would have come had Secession prevailed; but that the South had to fight because it was invaded, and nearly won because "they were fighting for a cause while Northern conscripts were fighting to invade the South." Myths change over time, of course and I doubt that is taught in Tennessee or even Mississippi now. Whether what is taught is closer to "the truth" I don't know, but I suspect it is not.

But there were economic issues, and those certainly compounded the slave/free division; and this probably isn't the place for that debate now. Surely the Union volunteers thought they were fighting for a holy cause. Conscripts on both sides -- I had not known there WERE southern conscripts until I got to college -- probably had more mixed feelings.

I grew up in a post Reconstruction society. It was still legally segregated. I was considered a hopeless radical because I actually thought we meant it when we said  "equal protection of the laws" and I thought the law ought to be color blind. I also believed that "separate but equal" meant spending what it took to make facilities equal; attitudes doubtless attributable to the Christian Brothers who taught in my high school since I can't recall thinking about such matters at all prior to about 10th grade. 

And while I suppose there were rabid anti-blacks in Memphis, I never knew any of them, and race hatred was considered beneath contempt in the circles I moved in. It was only when I spent some time in Springfield, Ohio, that I found people who actively hated blacks and who proposed a "sport" that involved physical violence against blacks. I was horrified enough that I spent my senior year in high school in a Memphis boarding house so that I could finish at Christian Brothers rather than have to move to Ohio with my parents. I didn't want to know people like the ones I met that summer.

But that was all long ago, and almost literally in another country.

And I don't intend to post more mail about the causes of the Civil War. Surely there are other places for the debate. Look how much gubbage even thinking about it has triggered!

I will add this note since it has in interesting point:


In re your comment to Mr. Stirling ("I was taught in Tennessee public schools that the limits to Federal taxation and tariff powers were the real causes of The War,"), go to  and you'll find the Constitution of the Confederate States of America. Rather interesting to compare it to The Constitution of the United States, on which it was based. I find two modifications concerning taxes: Article I, Sect. 8, subsections I ( "no bounties shall be granted from the Treasury; nor shall any duties or taxes on importations from foreign nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of industry" ) and 3, ( "but neither this, nor any other clause contained in the Constitution, shall ever be construed to delegate the power to Congress to appropriate money for any internal improvement intended to facilitate commerce;' ). Slavery comes up in Article I, section 2, subsection 3, Section 9 subsections 1, 2 &; 4, and Article IV, Section 2, subsections I &; 3, Section 3 subsection 3, mostly explicit guarantees that the Confederate govt. not molest the peculiar institution. Seven mentions to two pretty well sums up the relative importance of the two issues then, imao.


This morning I hear that the Chinese are sending the crew but not the plane home. Earlier I had this from Tom Holsinger:

Subject: Re: EP-3 Incident

President Bush should continue with Palmerstonian "masterly inactivity" for as long as it takes the Chinese to gut our pro-China lobby. The US has the power to resolve this incident, and the whole China question, in our interest. The major obstacle to that is the domestic power of the pro-China lobby. When that dies, so do the limitations on our freedom of action.

Our long-term goal here should be to remove the Communists from power in China, with a short-term goal of avoiding a Lebanon-style meltdown &; creation of multiple pirate bases. All while avoiding the necessity for military hostilities with Chinese factions.

We did this to the USSR. We can do this to China. I repeat that the obstacle here is our domestic pro-China lobby. Destroy their power, let the American people &; power elites come to a conclusion that the above goals are worth the effort, and it will happen.

But the pro-China lobby has to go first, so President Bush should do nothing and let the Chinese hard-liners create the necessary American consensus.

Which is good advice and perhaps what Bush did...

And this from another discussion group (with permission)

To this line, several thoughts:

The Communist band of brothers that fought the US so well in North Korea was the product of two generations of grim warfare. Since 1953, the PLA has spent some of its time shooting Tibetans and students and most of it running various factories and side-deals. I don't think I would bet on their fighting skills against any real military force. And I think the leadership is so corrupt by now that it would take a major invasion of China to clean it up -- forces like that don't work that well offensively.

Simply drawing a straight-line projection of present growth rates for several decades into the future is a risky business. All my relatives who have visited the country (I never have) have come away with the strong feeling that its still a third-world place. And they didn't even visit the huge backward parts of the country. There are several transitions on the way from 3rd world to 1st world -- and China has only negotiated the first of these.

Will China dominate Asia in 2100? Probably. It's the most likely alternative. Should we care? It depends upon what China is like then. The Anglo-Saxon nations fought two great wars against Germany in a space of 31 years. What is the dominant power in Europe today? Germany. What did we win? The kind of Germany that is dominant. An authoritarian China must be resisted; a democratic China can be left on its own.

Consider the giant Asian country that has fostered nuclear proliferation, grabbed several bits of territory by sheer force, holds several provinces against the will of their peoples, has sent military intervention forces against every one of its neighbors, and has not been particularly friendly to the U.S.

I speak, of course, of India. Not a nice place, not particularly nice to its neighbors. But it's democratic. The only time Americans were stirred up about the place was during Indira's anti-democratic phase.

If it's a democratic China, we won't care either.

Jim Chapin

Roland adds this with the subject "Peace in our time"


Note that I had to break the URL to avoid excessive length. Why do site DO this kind of thing? 

And Peter Glaskowsky has found the clippy site:

Jerry, I swear, this is the funniest thing Microsoft has ever done: 

This Web site, part of the Office XP ad campaign, shows how Office XP makes Clippy unnecessary.

There are some hilarious Flash animations featuring Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of Clippy. In the first one alone, representative computer users call Clippy "moronic" and "next to Microsoft Bob, the most annoying thing in computer history"!

It's just wonderful. :-)

. png

All true.

Poor Clippy...    







This week:


read book now


Thursday, April 12, 2001

Tom Weaver says

Generation D Navy

I have not heard such whining since R. Staubach was drafted (by the NFL). Not by him, by the fans. His attitude is quite different than either Stauback's or Robinsons..,1367,42870,00.html 

Dr. Pournelle:

I have been thinking about the "pocket computers" of your CoDominium stories (and, of course, "The Mote in God's Eye") and I am wondering - has anybody done anything about a "universal" database? Something that anybody connected to the Internet could access? Not a search engine, per se, - I'm thinking more about the "any question that anyone could ask to which the answer was known" scenario.


Mark Tomlinson

I don't know of one, but I suspect it is coming.

I have several notes to this effect:


Just a minor correction on Ed (Hume's?) description of St. Vitus' Dance in Wed. Mail: it is a possible complicatin of rheumatic fever as he says, but the modern name is Sydenham's Chorea or Rheumatic Chorea; Huntington's Chorea is a wholly genetic disease caused by a single defective copy of the gene involved. Huntington's is especially cruel because it usually appears during prime adulthood (30s-40s) and inexorably leads to death over the next 10 to 20 years...

Hoping to see more about Cochran, diseases, and evolution when you have a chance...

Armand MacMurray



Notice that Woody's Office Watch reports widespread complaints on the task bar:

"all by itself, made my Windows Taskbar go into permanent autohide. Many of you wrote back with confirmation about Office XP doing the same - and some of you noted similar somnambulant behavior with earlier versions of Office. Hard to say what's causing the problem." Woody's Office Watch

Flat mental lapse - Huntington's Chorea also known as Woodie Gurthrie's Disease is an inherited condition in which brain cells begin to die prematurely and in increasing numbers until the sufferer dies insane. No known connection to rheumatic fever or any infectious agent although it resembles Scrapie and other prion mediated and other disorders.

"St Vitus' Dance is the twitching and restlessness that comes from a case of rheumatic fever. We see less of it because we treat cases of rheumatic fever with antibiotics these days. The modern name for the phenomenon is Huntington's chorea.


"The Swiss found they could live with four languages"

When I was there the Swiss had 5 official languages in the sense that any of the 5 was acceptable for official use, Romansch and Ladin were survivals of Romance languages in the German speaking regions where earlier populations had been driven into the hills so to speak - you could get 4 by combining these which are similar but not identical. These could be used officially and had status but there was no mandatory translation into these languages as there was into French, German and Italian where translation into all these languages was mandatory for official pronouncements. Notice that much of the conflict in Switzerland was economic. The famous stories of taking a time-out in killing each other to eat lunch together reflected the economic disparities, the lowlands had the grain for bread, the highlands had the grazing for cheese among other linguistic and religious differences. You pick which ones matter when everything is colinear.


I am no great expert on Swiss institutions, but my textbooks say the official languages are German, French, Italian, and Rhaeto-Roman otherwise known as Romansch, and one has the right to make contact with the government in any of them. Of course I could be way out of date on any of this. The sources I have also say that Romansch has nearly vanished as a first language but pockets of it remain. I have never before heard a reference to Ladin, but I will certainly defer to superior knowledge. I suspect that the number of people who speak either and nothing else is an empty set.

I also found that while the written forms of German and Swiss German are apparently identical, what is spoken is not: Swiss German is incomprehensible not only to Americans educated in Hoch Deutch but to Austrians; at least that was my experience. Indeed I found Liechtensteiners who could not understand Swiss German tourists passing through...

Clark Myers informs me that Ladin is mentioned 6 times in the New Britannica. I leave the rest as an exercise to the reader...



Hi Jerry,

I rcvd an update from MS regarding the Regclean on Windows 2000 issue I reported to you earlier. It turns out that regclean is deleting necessary Office 2K and VB keys from the registry. This, in turn, causes the Windows Installer to try to repair/replace the damaged or missing keys. This behaviour, by Windows Installer, is by-design. I have been advised not to use regclean on W2K. Here's a quote from the MS representative's response:

"Regclean has not been updated for Windows 2000 and is not intended to run on it. As of yet, they do not have a Windows 2000 version of Regclean available that will prevent a problem like this from occurring."

She has requested that an update be made to the KB article:

Q147769 - RegClean 4.1a Description and General Issues 

There are now recommendations to use Scanreg instead. Especially on WME boxes.


Thanks. I have in fact never had any problems from it but that must be my good luck.

And now I have this. It is of course a press release; I have no idea of how valid it is...

Dear Jerry,

The latest vulnerability to be found in HTML mail allows viruses to be triggered automatically. GFI has issued an alert about the need to have server level protection against this type of email virus, warning that HTML email viruses are becoming more dangerous and harder to block.

I have included a copy of our release below for possible inclusion in the next edition of your publication.

Please contact me if you require more info or if you would like a review copy of Mail essentials.

Thanks and regards,

Angelica Micallef Trigona 

------------------------------------------------ For immediate release


HTML mail adds dangerous exposure: Mail essentials protects against this new breed of virus at server level

London, 12 April 2001 - GFI, leading developer of email content checking &; anti-virus software, warns that HTML email viruses are becoming more dangerous and harder to block. Referring to the latest vulnerability to be found in HTML mail that allows viruses to be triggered automatically, GFI cautioned that more HTML email viruses are on their way and announced that Mail essentials, its server level email content checking and anti-virus solution, blocks this new breed of virus.

The vulnerability recently discovered in HTML mail makes it possible for an email message to run an embedded file attachment when the user simply previews that message in Outlook or Outlook Express. This means the user does not need to open the attachment to activate the virus; in fact, the attachment is invisible to the recipient. This new vulnerability lies in a Malformed Content Type tag, which is exploited using an IFRAME tag. Through the IFRAME tag, a malicious user is able to automatically run his/her file.

A patch that partially fixes this vulnerability has been issued, but it is not a total solution (see  for more information). For full protection, email content filtering at server level is essential.

"HTML mail viruses are becoming more sophisticated and more difficult to detect and stop. The recently discovered vulnerability is a clear example of how dangerous HTML mail scripting can be. Exploits like this indicate that other such HTML viruses lie close ahead," said Nick Galea, GFI CEO.

"Mail essentials protects against this type of virus in two ways. Through its file checking module, Mail essentials blocks infected attachments, even if they are hidden. Through its script checking function, Mail essentials removes the actual script that runs the exploit, including IFRAME and other tags that automatically run files," Mr. Galea explained. "All this is done at email server level, before the email is forwarded to the recipient. This way, organizations are secure against this new type of HTML mail virus."

About Mail essentials: Mail essentials for Exchange/SMTP is an email content checking and anti-virus solution that removes all types of email-borne threats before they can affect an organization's email users. Spam, viruses, dangerous attachments and offensive content can be removed before the email users can receive them. More information can be found at . The full version of Mail essentials is available from $350.

About GFI: GFI has six offices in the US, UK, Germany, France, Australia and Malta, and has a worldwide network of distributors. GFI is the developer of FAXmaker, Mail essentials and LANguard, and has supplied applications to clients such as Microsoft, Telstra, Time Warner Cable, Shell Oil Lubricants, NASA, Caterpillar, BMW, the US IRS, and the USAF. GFI has won the Microsoft Fusion 2000 (GEM) Packaged Application Partner of the Year award, and was named one of 1999's fastest growing software companies for Windows by Microsoft Corp. and CMP Media.

--------------------------------------- For more information and review copies:

Send e-mail to Angelica Micallef Trigona -

GFI Software Ltd - Malta: Tel: +356 382418; Fax: +356 382419 GFI Software Ltd - UK: Tel: +44 (0)20 8546 0640; Fax: +44 (0)20 8546 0741

Or contact any of the GFI offices below:

GFI FAX &; VOICE USA Tom Kucmierz Tel: +1 (888) 2 GFIFAX Fax: +1 (919) 388 5621 E-mail:

GFI FAX &; VOICE Gmbh Niko Makris Tel: +49 (0)40 3068 100 Fax: +49 (0)40 3068 1010 E-mail:

GFI Asia Pacific Richard Rundle Sales FreeCall: 1800-CALL-GFI Fax: +61 (8) 8424 3199 Email:

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Does anyone know how valid this is?

And Stephen St. Onge reminds us that some evils are with us yet:

The only surprising thing is that anyone is surprised. 









This week:



Friday, 13 April, 2001

Hi Jerry,

I too lament the lack of a good MS Basic development tool for Windows. Those old Microsoft Basics were great for developing quick and dirty utilities. Object-oriented languages confuse me, but I was good in those old Basic languages and some of the utilities I wrote even got a bit of a following, years ago.

I found myself needing to quickly write a short and simple utility again recently, and I really wanted to give it a GUI, so I went looking. I found a free cross-platform Basic language, with GUI hooks and everything, at . I downloaded it and looked at it, and maybe, just maybe, I can indeed program in Windows after all. All the old familiar Basic commands are there, and it manages to add GUI elements without the syntax looking too weird. File handling's quite a bit different, but even MS Basic differed depending on what platform you were on, so that's easy enough to adjust to.

Python looks interesting to me, but it's nice to have the option to use something you already know, isn't it? -- David L. Farquhar Author, Optimizing Windows for Games, Graphics and Multimedia (O'Reilly) Mail: (remove NOSPAM to reply) Web:

Much better to be able to use something you already know. Indeed. Thanks.

I have real problems believing the following:

The project that wouldn't die? USAF wants to take over X-33 program:

Gordon Runkle

-- It doesn't get any easier, you just go faster. -- Greg LeMond

Ye immortal gods!

And on universal data bases:


Not quite perfect, but a good start on universal answers.

Ryan Greene

Now Trent Telenko on the Broadband World:


I have run across an interesting techno-sociological evolution for your consideration.

Tom Holsinger and I were having a conversation the other night when he started describing some of the things his daughter was up to using his DSL broadband access with her girl friends. She was interacting with three friends via a text chat channel plus multiple-recipient instant messages, Internet phone via DSL/computer microphone &; speakers with one girl and regular telephone line via headset with another. That is, two different verbal channels and multiple text channels were active simultaneously.

This was girl-gossip gone to heaven, Tom's daughter was communicating to individuals and some to all the group as she wished with catty verbal and text comments and digs flying to one, two and three girls while the nominal four party text conversation ran on.

Tom compared this to a study Microsoft did with some of their interns that they followed around one summer taping. These interns, when they wanted to have a conference, did not go to a conference room to interact. Instead, they all went to separate computers with verbal/streaming video channel and a "white board" text channel in order to conference.

In both cases, broadband access allowed these youngsters to not just multitask, they multiplexed their communications at a much higher data rate with much higher data density.

I differentiate here based on interactivity.

People have been multitasking for a long time. At cocktail parties, you often have people in one conversation while keeping track of one or two others. At home people often have the stereo and TV going while playing computer games. The legal and financial professions often have people doing one task while they are thinking of another. In some of my conversations with Tom I am on a cell phone with him, have Internet news on my computer and a television going in the background. It is really no big thing.

The difference with these compared to the Tom's daughter and her friends is that the older folks' interactions had only one active channel open. The girls were active in as many channels as there are combinations that four girls can gang up on each other.

The difference between Tom and his daughter is a difference in kind and not degree.

This is something we have already seen between the computer-phials and computer-phobic. The example I used with Tom was what happened when the Army Colonel commanding the Army 21 brigade in 1997 National Training Center maneuvers lost control. The sensors and displays gave the commander accurate position information on all friendly and enemy units. He ignored the displays in favor of the radio channels he was used to. He couldnt accept that the new communications channels used by his subordinates made his oral communication channel almost useless as a source of information on his own command.

His 20s-something tank crews were using their appliqui data terminals to navigate across miles of desert for refueling and reprovisioning WITHOUT GETTING LOST OR COMMUNICATING VERBALLY. The radio chatter that the Army Col. listened to, in order to determine what was going on, was missing. This was a perfect example of how those over 30 couldn't understand what those under 30 were up to.

Broadband is a generational change - which makes those who grow up with it able to communicate and think differently than those who didn't. There are implications in this which I am only just sorting through. "Information overload" will be much less of a problem for these kids when they are adults. This overload advantage doesnt mean we will have a "Logan's Run" situation where the young displace the old. There will be too many important societal activities where experience and guile will trump youth, exuberance and information handling ability.

Coming from a military cultural background, I can see this in using teleoperated robotic sensors and weapons. Americans will have the same cultural advantage with this technology as Americans in WW2 did with the internal combustion engine. Even if "durn furiners" can match the theoretical performance of our military toys, they will not have the equivalent scale of skilled operators, and maintainers, needed to get full capability from the same systems.

The larger economic and social implications are harder to digest. America's freer economic and political system lets change happen faster here than anywhere else in the world.

What is going on is that broadband technology is opening opportunities and rewards for more people with different modes of thinking and learning. People with short but broad attention spans, who are low productivity in current modes of work, can be more economically useful in the jobs broadband will create.

The mobilization of more of American society into more productive niches is a virtuous wealth creating cycle. Not only will the rich get richer in America, but also the poor will get richer because it will be easier to cheapen the cost of broadband access to poor Americans than it will be to extend it to other 1st world, let alone 3rd world, nations due to institutional and cultural obstacles. This also means that global talent will flow where it can be most easily rewarded, AKA in the USA.

I get the distinct impression from all this that American Superpower dominance of the planet will continue for an extended period of time.

Trent Telenko

It is one thing to dominate and another to structure yourself so that you will dominate... Domination has a price. It can be high.

Also from Trent Telenko

A very interesting article on professional military computer wargaming can be had at this link: 

Two paragraphs that I found of extreme interest from a professional (military procurement)point of view:

"In contradiction to our thesis that game wins are reinforced by separate and mutual discovery, sometimes a single-service show-stopper from an out-year game identifies certain technologies or desired weapon system characteristics that should be made the subject of intensified research and development.[21] This was the case when it became evident that there was no practical way to provide enough stored energy to operate the Army After Next's fighting vehicles for the unrefueled length of time proposed. Prompted by this requirement, investigation has suggested that carbon nanotubes can store thousands of times more hydrogen than any other means, and that an air/H2 fuel-cell-powered electric vehicle could conceivably approach the required characteristics. An unexpected nugget such as this, if steered into the appropriate acquisition channels, might be among the more valuable products from wargaming."

"21. In a recent Army After Next game, a 2020 scenario focused on territories adjacent to a large, deep body of water with restricted access. Red, a near-peer competitor, had invaded several adjacent countries to gain control of extensive oil deposits. Powerful Red naval forces in this body of water effectively precluded Blue naval forces entering serially through the narrow entrance, and necessary seaports and airports in an adjacent friendly country were held at risk from ballistic missile and air attack. Safe logistics transit across the body of water was critical if troops were to be put ashore and supported. Several Blue submarines were the only forces capable of safely entering the inland sea. Upon outbreak of hostilities, as expected, these units managed to eliminate the Red surface naval threat, allowing other Blue naval units to enter with much-needed anti-air warfare and missile defense. An unexpected benefit, however, was the subs' ability from close to Red shores, cued by national sensors, to provide rapid counter-battery fire against otherwise elusive missile transporter-erector-launchers using Navalized Army Tactical Missile System (NATACMS) weapons. However, each sub carried only 12 of these weapons. Since then, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiative has been established with a goal to significantly increase the payload of the new Virginia-class submarine by a factor of at least ten."









This week:



Saturday, April 14, 2001

This was commissioned for a newspaper which didn't want to run it after all. It was sent to me and others on a fairly high powered academic discussion list. It raises points that are not politically correct. One question: are we better off suppressing such discussions?

Well, the Boston Herald chickened out, calling the article too controversial. I'm posting it here. If anyone has a web site or there is a magazine editor who wants to use it, or wants me to adapt it, go right ahead. Steve, if you can convince UPI to run it as a guest article, that would be fine with me. I was getting paid next to nothing by the Herald anyway.

If anyone wants to converse with me directly about it, that's great. I'll be reachable.

Otherwise, have a Happy Easter and end of Passover, everyone.



Why Kenyans Win the Boston Marathon (And Why Weıre Afraid To Talk About It)

By Jon Entine

It's the passion of the adoring crowds at the National Stadium in Nairobi. Coaches comb the countryside for rising generation of stars, who are showered with special training and government perks. It's no exaggeration to call Kenya's national sport a national religion.

After 10 straight Kenyan victories in the menıs division of the Boston Marathon, and four consecutive wins by East African women, even casual fans are familiar with this success story. According to conventional wisdom, East Africans dominate because they ran to school as children, train torturously at high altitude, and are desperate to escape poverty. Itıs in their culture.

There's only one problem: The national sport, hero worship, and social channeling speak to Kenya's enduring obsession with not running but soccer. Unfortunately, Kenyans (and other East Africans) are regularly trounced in the Africa Games by West African countries. Itıs just not in their genes.

Science does not support the speculation that Kenyans dominate because of social factors, myths widely peddled by the media. "I lived right next door to school," laughs Wilson Kipketer, world 800-meter record holder, dismissing such cookie-cutter explanations. "I walked, nice and slow." Some kids ran to school, some didnıt, he says, but itıs not why we succeed.

And for every Kenyan monster-miler there are others, like Kipketer, who get along on less than thirty. "Training regimens are as varied in Kenya as any where in the world," notes Colm OıConnell, coach at St. Patrickıs Iten, the famous private school and running factory in the Rift Valley that turned out Kipketer and other Kenyan greats. OıConnell eschews the mega-training so common among runners in Europe and North America who have failed so miserably in bottling the Kenyan running miracle.

Though individual success is about fire in the belly and opportunity, genes set possibilities. East Africans win in large measure because elite runners have a near perfect biomechanical package for endurance: lean, ectomorphic physiques, large lung capacity, and a preponderance of slow twitch muscle fibers. Thatıs a poor anatomical profile for sprinting (the best Kenyan 100 meter time is a pokey 10.28), soccer, weightlifting, and field events, sports in which Kenyans are laggards.

"Kenyans are born with a high number of slow twitch fibers," states Bengt Saltin, director of the Copenhagen Muscle Research Center, one of the top experts in this field. "They have 70 to 75 percent of their muscle fibers being slow. Very many in sports physiology would like to believe that it is training, the environment, what you eat that plays the most important role. But based on the data it is Œin your genesı whether or not you are talented or whether you will become talented."

Not surprisingly, East Africans win more than 50 percent of top endurance races. Almost all trace their ancestry to the 6,000-8,000 foot highlands that snake along the western edge of the Great Rift Valley. The loosely-named Kalenjins, roughly 1.5 million Kenyans, win 40 percent of international distance events. The Nandi district, 500,000 people ­ one-twelve-thousandth of Earth's population ­ sweeps an unfathomable 20 percent, marking it as the greatest concentration of raw athletic talent in the history of sports.

"If you can believe that individuals of recent African ancestry are not genetically advantaged over those of European and Asian ancestry in certain athletic endeavors," notes retired molecular biologist Vincent Sarich, "then you probably could be led to believe just about anything. But such dominance will never convince those whose minds are made up that genetics plays not role in shaping the racial patterns we see in sports. When we discuss issues such as race, it pushes buttons and the cerebral cortex just shuts down."

Why do we so readily accept that evolution has turned out blacks with a genetic proclivity to contract sickle cell and colo-rectal cancer, Jews of European heritage who are one hundred times more likely than other groups to fall victim to the degenerative mental disease Tay-Sachs, and whites who are most vulnerable to cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis, yet find it racist to acknowledge that the success of East African distance runners, Eurasian white power lifters, and sprinters of West African ancestry can be explained, in part, by genetics?

Acknowledging any innate differences runs head-long against the American myth that everyone has an "equal possibility" at success, when the Constitution, and science, commits only to "equal opportunity." Advances in population genetics makes it quite clear that in some important ways humans are different, certainly in the proclivity to many diseases and in athletic skills. This is not "scientific racism," as some assert. Scientists who have documented anatomical differences between populations reject notions that physical ability and mental acuity are inversely linked. There is simply no denying that genes can matter.

"Differences among athletes of elite caliber are so small," notes Robert Malina, Michigan State anthropologist and editor of the Journal of Human Biology, "that if you have a physique... it might be very, very significant. The fraction of a second is the difference between the gold medal and fourth place."

To underscore the magnitude of such an advantage, Professor Sarich calculated, based on population statistics alone, the probability that all of the last ten Boston Marathon winners would hail from the same region in Kenya: 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000002. Thatıs functionally equivalent to the last ten winners all coming from Idaho.

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence, the popular myth persists that there are no meaningful genetic differences. In his State of the Union address in 2000, President Clinton declared that "We are all, regardless of race, 99.9 percent the same," apparently trying allay fears about the potential misuse of data generated by advances in genetic science. Well, there is no detectable genetic difference between a wolf, a Labrador, and a poodle ­ zero ­ but no one would dare suggest that their body type and behavioral differences are cultural, rather than innate. Differences are grounded in gene sequences and proteins and are activated by obscure environmental triggers.

All the training in the world is not likely to turn an Inuit Eskimo, programmed to be short and stout, into an NBA center or a Nigerian (or for that matter an African American who traces his ancestry from West Africa) into an elite marathoner. The world's most elaborate sports factory combined with state-supervised illegal drug supplements still could not turn even one East German sprinter into the world's fastest human. Highly heritable characteristics such as skeletal structure, musculature and metabolic efficiency are not evenly distributed across population groups.

Yet, hypocrisy abounds, even among many scientists. Just last week at a conference on race and sports, Harvard professor Stephen Jay Gould, renowned for his political correctness as much as for his scientific acumen, apparently attempted to score some media points with his declaration that there is no "running gene." Of course, no scientist claims there is a "running gene." Geneticists and anthropologists assert only that genetics plays in role in some patterned differences between populations, including in shaping body type and physiology.

Gouldıs circumlocution seem designed to play to the popular myth of equal possibility. Reuters News fell for the ruse, headlining its story: "Athletic Achievement Isn't in the Genes." Yet, even Gould didnıt go that far. Buried in the article was Gouldıs admission that sports success is a complex combination of social, environmental, and biological factors, none of which can easily be teased out and isolated. Thatıs of course exactly what geneticists and anthropologists have shown repeatedly. In other words, humans are different, a product of the intertwined and inseparable relationship of genes and environment. Such nuance is apparently too controversial to trust with the media.

But hard scientists who actually experiment with genetic variation, such as Arizona State University evolutionary biologist Joseph Graves, Jr., reject such equivocation as obfuscation. "The fact that monolithic racial categories do not show up consistently in the genotype does not mean there are no group differences between pockets of populations. It varies by characteristic. It doesn't necessarily correlate with skin color, but rather by geography," notes Dr. Graves, an African American and author of The Emperorıs New Clothes, a book about race science. "Populations with roots in equatorial Africa are more likely to have lower natural fat levels. That is likely a key factor in running. It's an adaptive mutation based on climate. But that's a long way from reconstructing century old racial science."

Caution over the potential misuse of genetic research is certainly warranted. After all, pseudo-science and claims that certain "races" are genetically superior and destined to dominate has historically been evoked to justify colonialism, slavery, apartheid and the Holocaust. Itıs not clear, however, that disingenuity, deception, and even censorship are the tools to guarantee against such potential misuse.

Popular thinking, still reactive to the historical misuse of "race science," lags the new bio-cultural model of human nature. The question is no longer whether genetic research will continue but to what end. "If decent people don't discuss human biodiversity," warns Walter E. Williams of George Mason University; "we concede the turf to black and white racists." Sports offer a non-polemical way to convey this message and de-politicize what has sometimes been a vitriolic debate.

Jon Entine ( ) is author of Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why Weıre Afraid to Talk About It [PublicAffairs, 200], which was just released in paperback.

In the 1960's one complaint was "My taxes are too high and my kids can't read." It appears things never change:

If true, these figures are amazing.... 

WALL STREET JOURNAL Online Saturday, April 14, 2001 12:01 a.m. EDT

. . .

Upon seeing the NAEP study, which shows that fourth-grade reading skills overall haven't budged in the past eight years, Education Secretary Rod Paige remarked: "The first thing you notice from these reading data is that after decades of business-as-usual school reform, too many of our nation's children still cannot read." He added, "After spending $125 billion . . . over 25 years, we have virtually nothing to show for it."

What Mr. Paige didn't mention but could have, says Krista Kafer of the Heritage Foundation, is that "more than $80 billion of that $125 billion was spent in the past decade alone," the years of the Clinton Presidency.

. . .

Rob Rocansky

They're true; believe it.

I have not time to write about the global warming business including the new SCIENCE articles, due to getting my taxes done. In about 3 weeks I'll do a major essay.

Environment &; Climate News reports that the rate of Global Warming may be by 40% due to the wrong data being collected. Evidently, measuring sea water as opposed to air temperature makes a big difference.

As a non-scientist, I've no way to tell if this report is correct... 


The latest reports are that the earth is warming and greenhouse gasses done it; but reading those reports we see that they have a new computer model. Gee whiz.

I continue to say that it is worth billions to develop better information: not just models, but sensors. This means low cost access to space is probably the best thing we could do for the environment, because low cost access to space enables us to build expensive (perhaps) but affordable (if cost to orbit is reasonable) solar power satellites, which are the ultimate in non-polluting energy generation, and can even intercept sunlight that was coming here anyway...

Roland notes that in the post USSR states the old ways are the best ways... 

and that "First it's the RIAA, then it's the unions": 

Roland Dobbins <> 


And this from Intel:

Hi, Jerry

The link below hooks you up with the Intel motherboard selector. It can help with matching those parts up to get best integration and is particularly useful for home users who like to "roll their own" systems.

Regards, Mike Detjen

And alas, another great keyboard bites the dust. Of course their non-existent marketing may have had something to do with it:


i'm delighted to see your comments on lawsuits, which i just now did; they're more tempered but not inconsistent with my own, here:

which actually isn't the reason i'm writing. a few months ago i wrote a little piece on keyboards:

and in it i concluded that the ortek was as good a replacement as we'll find for the late, lamented northgate. this morning i received a note, to wit:

"ortek MCK-142 pro keyboard Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 00:18:04 -0500 (EST) From: <> To:


"As a fellow keyboard enthusiast, I am sad to inform you that I called Ortek's Taiwan base and was informed that they stopped making it two years ago. Whatever selling is left over stock.

"Too bad. I was on the phone trying desperately to convince that guy the keyboard will appeal to Linux crowd. He said the demand was too low and they need to make at least 10k keyboard for the first batch, if they ever remake them.

"Just so you know. I'm quite sad about it."

which i pass along because i believe that you, too, favor the ortek. (right now i've pretty well settled on an ibm model M without the keypad. small and elegant, and the switches seem crisper than those in the full-size model. and i'm now doubting myself: did ibm *ever* make an AT keyboard with the function keys on the left?)

best, -- dep

there's more to history than what's in books; that's why it took so long to happen.

Ah well. I bought several a couple of years ago.

Apparently I am behind the times:

Dr Pournelle,

You might be interested to know that the so-called Third Secret of Fatima *has* been published.

For the official publication see 

which includes photo reproduction of the original document, translation, and commentaries explaining the Church's understanding of private revelations.

The key phrase, perhaps, is found about 2/3 way down: "[it] will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred. No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled." --Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Have been a fan of your fiction and fact for many years.

Richard Morgan

Thank you. I have not in fact followed the Fatima story since I was in high school in the 40's. I was rather struck by the early warnings about Russia, not so apparently to everyone in 1945. But except for the movie, whose name I don't recall, I don't suppose I have thought about the subject until just now, and all I know comes from that web site about it.  Thanks again.

I had another correspondent inform me of this, but not quite so politely. I suppose some people need triumphs in their lives.




This week:


read book now


Sunday, April 15, 2001

The Ides of April

Easter Sunday

The feast of Ishtar?  Uh, perhaps not.

Begin with this, which comes as a letter in a discussion group: 

Psychology discovers happiness. I'm OK, You're OK By Gregg Easterbrook Issue Date: 03.05.01 Post Date: 02.25.01

"Life is divided up into the horrible and the miserable," Woody Allen tells Diane Keaton in Annie Hall. "The horrible would be like terminal cases, blind people, cripples--I don't know how they get through life. It's amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So, when you go through life, you should be thankful that you're miserable."

That's a fairly apt summary of the last century's consensus regarding the psyche. Psychiatry now recognizes some 14 "major" mental disorders, in addition to countless lesser maladies. Unipolar depression--unremitting blue feelings--has risen tenfold since World War II and now afflicts an estimated 18 million Americans. Increasingly, even children are prescribed psychotropic drugs, while frustrated drivers are described as not merely discourteous but enraged. In the past 100 years, academic journals have published 8,166 articles on "anger," compared with 416 on "forgiveness"; in its latest edition, the presumably encyclopedic Encyclopedia of Human Emotions, a reference for clinicians, lists page after page of detrimental mental states but has no entry for "gratitude." Sigmund Freud declared mental torment the normal human condition and suggested that most people's best possible outcome would be to rise from neurosis into "ordinary unhappiness." It's a wonder we don't all lose our minds.

There is considerably more. As one who went to graduate school in psychology at one of the last of the behaviorist institutions, then studied with Guthrie, and finally went into engineering psychology I find this fascinating...

And now this, from the same correspondent:

Married couples happier than 'mid-life' singles The Telegraph [London]

ISSUE 2109 Sunday 4 March 2001

Married couples happier than 'mid-life' singles By Martin Bentham, Social Affairs Correspondent

AN increasing number of single people have a lonely "monastic" life that leaves them less happy than married couples, according to a new report.

In contrast to the notion that most unattached adults enjoy a carefree way of life similar to that of the television character Ally McBeal, dominated by socialising and romance, the report, by Mintel, warns that the majority of singles lead mundane lives in which drinking, dating and recreation play only a minor part.

There's considerably more, but not a lot is surprising...

Now for good news:

Dear Jerry,

I saw today on A&;E that starting April 22nd they will air 14 more episodes of Nero Wolfe with Timothy hutton and Maury Chaykin. I enjoyed "The Golden Spiders" last fall, and I believe you did as well. Timothy Hutton is producing and directing.

Greg French

Indeed. I look forward to that.









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