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Mail 152 May 7 - 13, 2001

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This week:



Monday  May 7, 2001

We have a whole raft of recommendations from Roland. I'll give his subject line with each.

Maybe they'll beat one another to death.


Microsoft pull back on Office XP 'subscriptions'.


Simply amazing.

Roland Dobbins <> // 408.859.4137 vo


Thanks for an excellent analysis of the problems inherent in Microsoft's .net copy protection scheme in this week's . I manage computer related technology for an administrative department at a large, private university. Although the university in general and my department in particular are not as strapped for funds as most public institutions, we take it as part of our mandate to make every penny spent for administrative purposes count...tuition here is very expensive and as much of that as possible should go into the classrooms.

In order to keep down expenses, I routinely upgrade old equipment. In the last year, we finally disposed of our last 486 based PCs---which had been upgraded with Evergreen 586-133 CPUs, larger hard drives, and additional memory over the years. In the end, these were being used as data entry stations and word processors for temporary and student employees, and as emergency replacement units.

We are still using our original Pentium I PCs, typically with 233mhz or 300mhz Evergreen CPUs, additional memory, upgraded PCI video adapters, and larger hard drives and CD-ROMS when necessary. We have found that we can extend the life of machines used primarily for such tasks as word processing, data entry, scheduling and light , web based, bibliographic research by three years or more with incremental investments of about $200 - $250, total.

Clearly, if we had to get Microsoft's permission to reregister Windows for every upgrade, it would be a major nuisance. If Microsoft were someday to deny that permission outright or even require an additional fee for the right to upgrade, it could be a major increase in our operating expenses, particularly since, at least at first, we would probably request the permission after the additional hardware is purchased and installed, and re-registration is demanded.

Another way we save money is by not upgrading software if the new version doesn't provide any increase in value for our uses. We always buy the OS with a new PC, and since Win95, we typically do not upgrade the OS for the life of the PC. For example, the marginally increased stability of Win98SE is more than offset by its significantly decreased speed on older PCs. We are also still using Office 97 because it suits our needs.

Our ability to save money in both of the ways I have described is clearly based on our ability to purchase software licenses that endure for the life of the PC, in the case of the OS, or for as long as we choose to use it, for office suites. And it seems to me that disposal of the license purchase model, and not copy protection, is the actual goal of Microsoft's .NET strategy, of which the registration scheme is one crucial step. While I don't expect much sympathy for an institution that charges the tuition of an elite, private university, this inflated cost structure will also be forced on public universities, secondary and elementary schools, and other institutions where it will certainly represent a much larger percentage of the cost per student.

Should Microsoft actually use .NET registration requirements to enforce a shift to a subscription model for future software, it might be possible to move our employees to an alternative product, but it would be very difficult. People usually prefer what they know, and at this point few people know anything other than Microsoft. We have one small office that still uses WordPerfect, but every time a new employee comes on board there is another voice complaining about not having Word, even when I configure the WP interface to mimic Word's almost exactly. They may not use it any differently, but they KNOW it's not the same. So based on the difference between Office 97 and Office 2000, under a subscription system such as those I have seen proposed, we would--will be forced to purchase upgrades that do not increase the functional usefulness of the software for our purposes. And Microsoft's virtual monopoly in office software means that we will have to simply take the increased cost and pass it along in next year's tuition.

If the sale of software licenses is truly no longer a viable model for the software industry, as Microsoft and some in the computer press seem to be indicating, then the increased efficiency attributed to the PC, to some extent, has been a mirage projected by the unintended subsidy of users by the software industry itself. The only alternative conclusion would seem to be that Microsoft's .NET strategies are an attempt to use a virtual monopoly position to inflate revenues when the company can no longer sufficiently increase sales through useful innovations.


Michael C. Knoerzer Office of the Executive Vice Provost Systems Manager Columbia University 

  Thank you for a very illuminating example. Best regards,


Incidentally, I at least could live with  Office 97 for a good long time. I do prefer Front Page 2000 and by a lot. I have always wished the integration of Word Perfect Suite was good enough to be serious competition to Office, but alas...

Is there ANYONE likely to fall for this following Spanish Prisoner/Trunk? If you've seen this before, you can click here to skip it.

From. Sherif Musa Mungu



APPLICATION FOR HELP. It is with trust and confidence that I make this urgent and important proposal to you I am Mr. Sherif Musa MunguThe son of Dr. Abel Kombo Mungu, The lateformer finance minister in SIERRA-LEONE. I am presently working with LEGEND SEAFOODS Ltd. Lagos area office,therefore all correspondences should bedirected to our Lagos office.

With the Rebellious war in my country, my father left Sierra-Leone for Nigeria with us, In Nigeria he died.Leaving us behind. He made a deposit of about US$45M in a certain security financial company. Branded it for (Foreign Transfer) only. My efforts to withdraw it failed, as the funds can only be transferred outside Nigeria. Due to our refugee status and the uncertain political situation in Nigeria we decided to transfer it out. Through my fathers Associate we transferred the sum of $10M (Ten million United States dollars) to a bank account he provided in Spain, The transfer was concluded in October 31st 2000. To my surprise, my fathers friend Mr. Perez. Called to inform me after one week of transfer, that the money is being seized and labeled drug money. And this I have been in Spain challenging for two months without luck. I through frantic search for a contact got, your address through the chamber of commerce in Castellon Spain, And after being informed that your country have a more liberal financial regulations. Hence my interest in contacting you.

Now my problem is that I want to transfer another sum of US$25M (Twenty five million United States dollars only) through a diplomatic courier service. The security financial company has agreed to give approval for cash payment, after I explain to them my experience in Spain. But only if I can see somebody that can help me receive the money abroad, This opportunity prompted my contacting you for help, if only you can be trusted. Bear in mind that your percentage is negotiable if you agree to help.

The finance company will pack the money into two iron steal boxes and label it diplomatic goods, because the Courier Company does not carry money. And would not have any knowledge of what is inside the boxes, It will be tagged films &; film materials.

What is required of you is thus: 1) Your full addresses where the Courier Company will deliver the consignment. 2) Your mobile phone, faxes &; telephone numbers for easy communications.

Also you will invite me to your country as soon as the transaction is concluded, for me to look for a viable investment options. In doing this I will make bold to tell you that this money is not from drug. But was in the last batch of deposits made from the sale of Gold, which he (my father) transferred to this deposit company in Nigeria.

Yours faithfully,

Mr. Sherif Musa Mungu

__________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Yahoo! Auctions - buy the things you want at great prices

But then Mr. Barnum made a serious underestimate in birth rates. But see below...

From Rod McFadden:

Subject: The Empire Strikes Again!

Ordnung! The Rules Must Be Enforced. Surely you can see that? The purpose of the rules is not important. It is important that the Rules be obeyed...

On last Sunday's VIEW notes on Viruses

You said that you couldn't delete the trojan file with Windows Commander, so you used Norton Commander under DOS. That works fine, but here are some notes about locked files; I hope you find them worth the time to read them.

Windows puts a "lock" on files that are in use. Certain system files are always in use, and you are never allowed to touch them; therefore Windows has a feature where you can ask Windows to manage those files for you during boot. This is why any upgrade to critical system files requires a reboot. (Windows 2000 and newer versions have features to minimize the need to reboot, but I know very little about those features.) Other files are in use as long as you are running a certain program; for the best backup of Outlook files, you need to shut down Outlook to make sure none of its files are locked.

There is also the concept of a read-only lock; such a file may not be modified, but it may be read, so you could run a backup and it would get your files that are under read-only lock.

If the trojan file was locked, it is very probable that the trojan was simply running. If you had hit Ctrl+Alt+Del and looked in the Task Manager you might very well have seen the trojan as a currently-running task, and killed it from there. Then the file would not have been locked. It is possible that the trojan would not create any visible windows, which means it would not show up in Task Manager; there are developer's tools that will show you all running processes, not just the ones that have visible windows, and you could have used one of those.

It should be possible to ask Windows which files are locked and why. There is a utility called Net Watcher that will show you which files are locked because someone is accessing them over the network; but I am not aware of any similar program that will show you what active program has the file locked. Linux does have this functionality. (It's easy enough to boot into DOS rather than trying to get some sort of special tool.)

Of course when you boot Linux, no Windows file locks are in place. And Linux, unlike DOS, understands long file names, lower case filenames, etc. So you could have booted a Linux CD-ROM and used Midnight Commander or some such to find and nuke all the trojan files. (This assumes a FAT32 partition; NTFS is sufficiently hard to figure out that the NTFS driver for Linux still isn't finished, and for now you would be best off to only read from NTFS volumes under Linux.) I wanted to rename my C:\WINDOWS directory to C:\Windows (prettier mixed case) and you just can't do that under Windows, but it's easy under Linux. (Also easy under NT, if you have a dual-boot setup.)

There are versions of Linux that make nice bootable "rescue disk" CDs. If and when you get more comfortable in Linux, you might want to add one of these to your bag of tricks.

By the way, if you use Linux to back up your Windows partitions, you will have no trouble at all with locked files that can't be backed up. Backup programs generally know how to deal with file locks gracefully, but Windows Explorer is brain-dead about them. (I hate the fact that if Explorer finds any single file that can't be accessed, it stops copying files and leaves you with the job part done. I wish it would copy every selected file that it can, skipping over the ones it cannot rather than halting with an error.)

I hope you found these notes educational or at least sort of interesting.

Stay well.

Steve Hastings

It wasn't running, but that dnet.exe file which the virus dropped in was set in such a way that it couldn't be deleted. Locked indeed. I expect there is a way I could have dug around in Windows 98 to find out how to make it deletable, but it was just as simple to let the system come up in DOS and use DOS Commander for the purpose. 

I continue to wonder why anyone would want to send copies of dnet.exe to everyone on Earth, which is what this Trojan tries to do; and why the dnet people are unable to discern who is doing this and why.

I got so wrapped up in what I was writing, I never even mentioned the main point that I wanted to make. It seems to me that a Linux-based virus scanner for Windows viruses would be a very good thing! Scanning the file system while the virus cannot possibly be running seems like a nice safe way to find and nuke the viruses; they can't play any games with Windows to lock their files, hide themselves, etc. As I said, you can make a bootable CD that will boot into Linux, so you would not even need to install Linux on your computer to gain the benefit of a Linux-based virus scanner.

If Symantec ever releases a Linux version of Norton Antivirus, I for one would pay for it. I love my free software as much as anyone else, but I see the value in virus updates.

Stay well.

Steve Hastings

Excellent point. I would buy it too, and install it on my NewWinder...




This week:



Tuesday,  May 8, 2001

And no sooner said than done:

Jerry, by now you've probably got a million responses to Steve Hastings 'wish' for virus scanning under Linux and other platforms.

He (and you) only have to look at Trend Micro at 

Trend is quietly taking loads of business away from Norton/Symantec and McAfee/Solomon with their (in mine and many others opinion) superior product.

take care

Chuck Kuhlman


Talin on Internet Security Hardware: 

Hardware Review: SMC Barricade 10/100Mbps Broadband Router, SMC7004BR

Last week I was tasked with hooking up a home network for one of our artists. This is a long time friend who is working with me - she has four machines (two Macs and two Wintel boxes) that she uses to do various kinds of 2D and 3D art. She also has DSL. Up to this point she had only been using the DSL with one of the machines, and had asked my help in setting up a hub so that she could share files among all the machines.

I was also concerned about network security. I know that a lot of DSL users are opting for the "security through obscurity", in the hopes that they won't be noticed by the script kiddies, but I prefer not to depend on that assumption if possible. I had thought about configuring a Linux box as a firewall, but the headache of system administration (having to check logs regularly, etc.) was enough to put a serious damper on that idea. I had thought about hardware firewall solutions before, but I had rejected them on the theory that hardware firewalls were expensive, specialized pieces of hardware. That turned out to be stale knowledge - apparently, they have become quite commodities.

We picked up the SMC Barricade at CompUSA for $159. (Although I see it can be got cheaper online.) It's a tiny little thing, about as larger as a thick paperback book (not including power supply) but has pretty much every feature we needed for setting up a home network:

o A four-port Ethernet hub (not including the incoming WAN connection) o Network Address Translation (NAT) allowing you to hook up to 254 computers to a single DSL line and make them all appear to be a single machine from the outside world. o Configurable Firewall software with "Virtual Servers". o Windows print server o DHCP service for easily connecting PCs and laptops. o Easy to use web-based configuration. o Modem port for dial-up connections.

This was exactly what I wanted - we could network all four machines safely behind a firewall, and give every one of them full internet access.

The box was incredibly easy to set up, and the instructions were short but relatively easy to follow. The router includes a simple HTTP server for configuration, so to set up the box, I simply needed to point a web browser to the IP address given in the manual. At this point, I was invited to log in using the default password (which we changed immediately). I went to the appropriate configuration page and typed in the IP address, net mask, gateway and DNS address for her DSL connection. Pressing the submit button showed the "status" page which reported an error in contacting the gateway - turns out that I had made a typo in the gateway address. What was nice was that it told me exactly what the problem was. After fixing the typo, the status page showed everything working OK, so I proceeded to the next step which was to configure all of the PCs and Macs for DHCP. (This step isn't really necessary - you can use fixed addresses if you want - but I figured that this would be easier to maintain.)

I did have a bit of a problem getting the Windows 2000 machine to release the Ethernet interface so that I could configure it for DHCP - it turned out that the "Local Area Connection" had been set up improperly on that box, and I ended up deleting the connection and re-creating it anew. Once that had been done, I could then (following the instructions in the Barricade manual) tell it to get a new DHCP lease.

Once I had got the PC configured, I tried a simple browser test to the outside world, and was immediately rewarded by seeing the search page (my standard test page, because it's fast and simple).

There's a serial port on the box that goes to a printer, but I didn't have time to experiment with that.

We also bought a copy of DAVE - the file sharing software that allows your Mac to be able to see files on your Windows machines. The setup was fairly straightforward, however we had a lot of problems setting the permissions and access controls on the various Windows boxes. At this point there are still quite a lot of access control issues to be debugged, and I'm not enough of a Windows guru to be able to figure all of them out quickly. In particular, my friend wants to have minimal internal security and maximum convenience, and convincing Win98, Win2000, and Mac/Dave to be able to talk to each other in this way is a bit of a struggle for me.

-- Talin                         "I am life's flame, respect my name, 
Explorati, Inc.                my fire is red, my heart is gold.

                                    Thy dreams can be, believe in me,
                                     if you will let my wings unfold!"

                                       - Heather Alexander

We had a similar experience with wiring Niven up. thanks. It sounds like the solution to some of my internal problems too.

And on the security score:

A local systems guru, Ed Sawicki  turned up the NTFS file stream 
 vulnerability a few years ago, and it was one of those things where, after discussing it with Norton's folks in Eugene, I decided to keep quiet, lest once of the card-carrying members of the Junior Hackers of America would document it and start writing viruses for it. Well, someone did last year..
 and I can't see any cure has arisen in the past year.

A search on your site showed no discussion on NTFS streams.

As for me, I'm abandoning NTFS and going to FAT32 as rapidly as feasable.

-- See the (unofficial) PalmOS Wireless FAQ at  adfree spamfree plaintext but for counter &; webring link mostly harmless

John Bartley

Thanks. You may be safer but surely that's a drastic solution?

And now something else to worry about:


In anticipation of your entry into the scary world of DSL, here's an excellent resource page relating to your provider. Good luck.

Brian Fumo

Aaaarghhh!  But I think I have no choices. PacBell is the only one offering. Now see below for some useful advice...


The "You've go to see this, it's really cool" message with a .VBS attachment is definitely a virus. has named it VBS.VBSWG2.D@mm. We got a couple here, but our virus filter trapped them. (No .VBS permitted! Ever!)

Talin's experience with the itty bitty firewall boxes matches mine. I've got Earthlink DSL, which forces me to use PPPoE to log in, and require installing some software to do that and the PPPoE protocol. I picked up a little Linksys DSL router at Fry's ($60 on sale) which does the PPPoE protocol and login for me on demand, is a firewall, a DHCP server, does NAT to share the internet connection with multiple PCs, and does IPSec passthrough so I can connect to work. I plugged the Linksys between my DSL modem and hub, uninstalled the PPPoE software on my PC, and just do plain ethernet to the Internet with all the PCs in the house. (And its logs of the IP address and port of connection attempts to my PC has been ... amusing reading.)

-- Mike Van Pelt

Subj: Early space tourism

Dr. Pournelle,

Maybe you have a good answer to this question and time to read my little rant...

Once it became clear that Mr. Tito was going to go into space regardless of their objections, why couldn't NASA give in and even come up with something for him to do during his time in space? At the very least, they could have hooked him up to some bio monitoring gadgets or given him a mouse to feed. Instead, NASA passed up an opportunity to let their researches play with a (nearly) captive civilian for over a week and got nothing but bad PR out of the whole deal.

Talk about wasted resources, all because of some stiff necked opposition. If they were worried about liability, write the mother of all waivers. People pay all sorts of money to volunteer for archeology expeditions, so why couldn't that model have been applied to our first space tourist? There's been a change in what kinds of people get to go into space, and NASA needs to embrace it or lose out entirely on any future progress in this area.

I have an enormous amount of respect for Senator Glenn, but I think his comments concerning Mr. Tito show that he's holding on too tightly to the past. We're already in the next stage of human presence in space, but NASA and Senator Glenn won't admit it and that will only hurt US space progress because "everyone else" seems to have figured it out already.

Sean Long

NASA is beyond incompetence. Remember this useful phrase. You will find you need it again and again. 

Glenn sold his soul in the hearings for his ride in space; he could have been more gracious with Tito. Tito only paid money. Glenn paid a lot more than money for his second trip. Ask Senator Thompson.

With regards to the claims regarding NTFS streams virii in the Register UK article, NAI claims that the NTFS streams infection method described by John Bartley ( can be handled by their current virus scanning engines. Admittedly, the article in question appears to be a year old and the related FAQ ( is dated 3/21/2000.


Chris Pierik

It turns out that the subject has been well covered. Including here in earlier mail. It is nothing to worry about. The fact that I could not remember we had been through this before, perhaps thqt is worth worrying about.

I can't speak to the other imported items in your mail last week, but I do know something about TVs, as I've been working at Thomson multimedia (the RCA and GE consumer electronics company) for 10 years. The bulk of the wages paid to those who create RCA and GE televisions are paid to the headquarters personnel here in Indianapolis, IN, as Thomson (and RCA before GE bought RCA and sold the consumer electronics business to Thomson) have long had a set of the most automated factories in the consumer electronics business (and maybe the world). The factories are now located in Mexico because land was cheap -- Thomson hires the same kinds of professional and skilled positions for the factories that Thomson would if the factories were in the U.S. There is basically no call for "grunt" assembly-line workers in the Thomson factories, as it is very cost-ineffective to hand-assemble TVs because of the thin profit margins in the industry (profit margins ranging from 0.5-1.5%).

As an aside, a study I've read (Wall Street Journal?) showed that factory workers in underdeveloped/Third World areas only add the value of their wage into the product -- it is not generally the case that a $0.30/hour worker is adding $3.00/hour of value to the product, much less $30.00/hour. American workers are capable of significantly more skilled operations than underdeveloped/Third World factory workers due to the greater educational advantages of living in the U.S. From what I understand, underdeveloped/Third World factory workers generally have had little to no schooling, which makes them unsuited for any position requiring literacy -- which is many (if not most) positions in consumer electronics factories today.

IMHO, the great difficulty facing society (factory workers and professional alike) is the necessity of lifelong learning -- it is no longer possible to learn your profession in high school or college, then never turn to the books, magazines, professional societies, etc. again. Again IMHO I think our society can weather this change, but it will represent a period of disruption in society, just as the Industrial Revolution was a period of disruption.

=============================================== Mark Leighton Fisher Thomson Consumer Electronics Indianapolis IN "Display some adaptability." -- Doug Shaftoe, _Cryptonomicon_

I can very much hope you are right. 

A republic is a state ruled by its middle class. The middle class are those who possess the goods of fortune in moderation. This is Aristotle, but it has not been improved on. For a while we were making middle class out of our workers. I wonder if we are still doing that.

Hello Jerry,

A friend of mine created a patch for removing the attachment security from Outlook 2000, SP1 / SP2.

It might be of use, 

kind regards,

Jan Jaap van der Hart (The Netherlands)


From: Stephen M. St. Onge

Subject: The Linux Community vs. Microsoft, again

Dear Jerry:


I mean really guys, how often do you insist on saying the same things? Microsoft says Linux ain't what it's cracked up to be, the Linuxen yell "More FUD!" I say, lotsa small egos on parade.

Instead of endlessly repeating this nonsense, how about some good software you just hit install, open, and use without problems?

Don't hold your breath.

Best, Stephen

Dr. Pournelle,

On an entirely non-technical note, I was wondering what you thought about the Federalist Society ( ). It seems to me that they are fighting an uphill battle trying to turn the system around to convince present and prospective lawyers and judges that they should interpret and not make law. Still, it's a noble cause.

Argue the moral merits of cases like Roe v Wade as you will, but it is clear that the Supreme Court at the time "discovered" a right that is not in the Constitution. If there was indeed a need to come up with a federal law on this issue the Court should have punted it back to the Congress, painful as it might have been.

On a broader note, I wonder if the need for groups like the Federalist Society is a consequence of the fact that legislative bodies all across this country have been so willing to give up their power to make the law.

On the federal level, look at the feeble response to judicial activism, the creation of the EPA which takes personal property (see the Klamath valley news reports), and the overall delegation of legislative power to the executive which resulted in President Clinton's final proclamations setting national policies which had the force of law.

On the local level, we have the California initiative process. In recent years it seems like the legislature has dumped every difficult decision onto the voters: school bonds, gay rights, bilingual education, etc. I'd almost be willing to place a bet right now that their solution to our current energy crisis will involve yet another voter intiative.

As I see it, rather than making laws and doing the best for their country and constituents, the sole credo of our elected representatives now appears to be to get themselves re-elected (see the size of our Gov Davis's warchest as an example).

I can only hope against hope that at least in my son's future he will be able to vote for a candidate that holds principle above power, which I think is the true measure of a republic.

Ken Jancaitis

I do not know that organization but I once seriously discussed founding one with that name and those goals, assuming they are genuine. I believe federalism as opposed to unitary government (with imposed 'diversity') to be the only hope we have of avoiding empire.  I also think it is probably too late. But perhaps not.

But as we impose more restrictions and burdens on the police we will find that we can recruit only a few of the saints required. Yet we will need police. The next step is generally predictable.

Of course the only concern of the modern politician is to be elected. The days of men like Washington are gone and past gone. We can still limit the harm they can do but to do that we must limit the power of government to Do Good as well. And that will always fail. Cut taxes? You stop the redistribution of the wealth. You must not do that...




This week:



Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Dr. Pournelle:

You stated:

"Is there ANYONE likely to fall for this following Spanish Prisoner/Trunk?"

Apparently so. The following is from the Kroll Daily Intelligence Brief for 4/26/01:


Kidnapped Americans Rescued

Police rescued three American men yesterday who had been chained and held for ransom in a Kenya suburb, Reuters reported. The rescue took place after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation tipped off Kenyan police following a ransom demand made to the victims' families. The tip allowed police to ambush one of the kidnappers on Monday, who then led the police to the house. Two other kidnappers fled before the police arrived. The victims had been lured to Kenya through an Internet scam involving Nigerians and were kidnapped upon arrival at Kenya's main international airport. Two of the men were kidnapped earlier this month, while another had been held since January.

Comment -

The incident is the first of its kind in Africa since June 1999, when four foreign businessmen were lured to South Africa in a similar kidnapping scam run by Nigerians. None of the incidents has netted a paid ransom, and the attempts have been largely amateurish and part of a larger network of Nigerian scams. Nigerians regularly solicit foreigners by mail, e-mail or the Internet through scams generally involving offers of money transfers, lucrative sales or contracts with promises of large commissions for up-front payments. In addition to a loss of money, those who fall prey to these scams risk physical harm if and when they travel to African countries, and the victim may become unknowingly involved in illegal activity, resulting in arrest.

NOTE: Should you receive a solicitation of this type from an unknown foreigner requesting an immediate funds transfer, send a copy of the correspondence to the Northrop Grumman International Security Office in Linthicum, MD (Mail Stop A125). All financial scams of this type are then reported to the U.S. Secret Service Financial Crimes Unit in Washington, DC for investigation.


(Of course, the instructions in the note are for N-G employees; I suppose private parties could contact the Secret Service directly, but I don't really know.)

I agree with your comment, Dr. Pournelle. Phineas' estimate was too low by at least a factor of 60.

Steven Dunn

I like to think that none of my readers would get bit on this. Anyway, thanks.

Another antivirus program you might want to look at is Sophos AntiVirus which can be found here: .

The last company I worked for changed over to that from NAI/McAfee VirusScan, and we found a lot of virii that VirusScan missed. The best part was when you called for support, the call was answered immediately by someone who could help, not a menu, and you weren't ever put on hold forever.

Steven Gorsky 

Thanks. I used to recommend Dr. Solomon's because they were actively looking at all viruses and doing updates. Now it is hard to keep track. The real danger is new ones that defeat firewalls or exploit new software holes. Most of the standard programs work fairly well if updated frequently.

And on a subject dear to my heart...

Hi Jerry -

I can verify the report on this web page of horrible DNS response time from Pac Bell DNS servers. We have a 5mb link to the Internet through PBI and have had consistently bad DNS response from their servers over the life of our connection (2+ years). Despite all of our documented complaints they have yet to correct the problem.

Our solution? We still utilize them for physical connectivity. We have our own caching DNS server set up outside the firewall in the DMZ. All of our web browsing goes through a squid proxy server and that proxy server does all of its DNS lookups through the caching name server.

The reason this works so well is that when the caching name server can not resolve a name locally from cache, it goes directly to the DNS server root domain and finds out where to look up the name that it does not have. This means we bypass PBI DNS entirely.

Once you get ADSL, you might want to consider setting up something similar on the NetWinder if it will handle DNS services.

I can also verify the horror stories on many of the links this web page lists about ADSL installs. We have 200+ people who work for our company using ADSL and when it works, it works great. When it doesn't work... when you are 15,000+ feet from the central office... when you get 15 different installers showing up and leaving notes on your door... there definitely can be problems.

Roger Weeks

Thanks. I am sure that Roland will be able to deal with anything that can be dealt with; probably Netwinder 3 will be able to take care of that sort of thing. And there's always the Penguin. And I'll get a column out of that...








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Thursday, May 10, 2001

At the beach house.

I have not seen this article:

Clipped from Bruce Kebbekus Oak Harbor, WA retired AppleII Plus software magnate.

Scientists Claim to Revive Alien Bacteria

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

May 10 - Italian researchers claim to have found conclusive evidence that life on Earth arrived from outer space.

Bruce Kebbekus 

It sure sounds interesting.


??? "I don't know if California could open the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant that was closed because 'it was close to a fault line' ..."

Both units of Diablo Canyon are very much still in service (although I think that unit 2 is in its scheduled refueling outage at the moment).

Also: I am in general agreement with your views on the energy situation (especially with respect to the role of nuclear power--but then I am not a neutral observer on that issue, since I make my living designing stuff for nuclear power plants). I must say, however, that the following is a bit off the mark:

"Long ago Petr Beckmann pointed out that one didn't need laws requiring people to conserve diamonds. If you let the price of energy reflect its true value, then the price will rise, people will conserve as needed, and if profits get high new power sources will be built. "

This ignores the fact that electricity is rather more a basic necessity than are diamonds. Not that market forces are inappropriate for energy, but we have to be more cautious about the effects of a pure market driven approach when the consequences can be so disruptive. Another problem is that part of the "price" of energy is damage to the environment. Yes, much of that might be avoided by allowing the monetary price to rise to cover the costs of environmental protection (and mandating such protection by law), but the market is not, by itself, very effective in dealing with issues of non-monetary costs. Conservation is one way of reducing the non-monetary costs of energy production and use.

In general, I am skeptical of "silver bullets"; and "just let the market do its thing, and everything will work out in the end" is, to me, one of those "silver bullet" approaches to a complex issue.

Regards, Bill Ghrist

I suppose my memory is faulty. I understood there was a power plant closed because it was "near a fault". If sanity returned, I am pleased. It makes the crunch a little smaller. But the main problem is that you can't conserve your way to prosperity. We used to understand that in this country.

One of us hasn't thought about this much. I thought I had. Of course energy is rather primary; I thought I had said so, and often. It is also the case that the best way to encourage conservation is through economic incentives, not law enforcement and special commissions.

If you give people a discount for using more of something they will find it worthwhile to use more. If you make the rates go up people use less. It's pretty simple, actually. Magic bullet? No, there are no magic bullets, but saying that doesn't negate the use of common sense or simple economics, and I am astonished that you would berate me over it.

Now I have for a number of years differed with my Austrian Economics libertarian friends in that I tend to be a follower of the Swiss school and "A Humane Economy"; I am the guy who wrote the article called "who speaks for the Grand Canyon" and I have been writing conservation articles for about 50 years, so, yes, I sort of have an idea that environmental protection plays a part; although when the environmentalists are idiots who block everything they usually force people to do things at the last minute without planning, and then the environment is what suffers. If we had decent nuclear power we would not need to burn fossil fuels or get involved in the Middle East; but then I have only been saying THAT for about 50 years.

Thanks for the lecture, but I think I gave that lecture some time ago. Sorry if I didn't write a book when I thought I was delivering a few thoughts in the morning. 

"Long ago Petr Beckmann pointed out that one didn't need laws requiring people to conserve diamonds. If you let the price of energy reflect its true value, then the price will rise, people will conserve as needed, and if profits get high new power sources will be built. "

Let me say that again. Now tell me just what part of that is not true? Which part is difficult to understand? Unless you consider me an idiot why do you think I would not have some regulations on those new power sources? Since I talked about licensing in the morning notes from which you took this, clearly I am not saying there should be nuclear plants without licensing, or that there should be no regulation of other power sources. Once again, though we do things stupidy: the stack gasses from western coal go into the scrubbers cleaner than the stack gasses from eastern coal come OUT of the scrubbers, but we continue to have regulations that force western coal plants to scrub so that eastern coal won't be at a disadvantage. 

Tell me about the economic benefits of that while you are giving me the treatment. Please.

Now from Mr. St. Onge on a number of matters:

From: Stephen M. St. Onge 

subject: electricity, nukes, and news

Dear Jerry:

Concerning our utility system and nuclear power, I think a change in design philosophy is in order.

We should be emphasizing co-generation. Why burn natural gas to heat your home in winter when you can burn it to run a generator, and heat your home with the waste heat? For that matter, there are heat operated air conditioners that run at temperatures an internal combustion engine reaches routinely. Our present central power system was invented by Edison, who then developed his light bulb as the killer application that would persuade people to wire their homes. It made sense 120 years ago.

On the utility operational side, the choice between pressurized water and boiling water reactors is wrong. We should combine them into a high temperature, closed cooling circuit reactor that heats water in separate loops to the same temperature and pressure as the best steam reactors, while working towards higher temperature cycles.

Concerning safety, fission plants should be designed on a fail safe basis. E. g., at least some of the control rods should be less dense than water -- you don't lift them up, you force them down with the flow of water from the main coolant pump, and if it stops, they float up automatically to damp the reaction. We should probably use heavy rather than light water reactors -- the emergency coolant would be light water that automatically shut off the reaction, even if the control rods were missing. Instead of emergency cooling systems that have to be turned on, they should have emergency cooling systems that automatically shuts down the reactor unless the main cooling system is working properly. The reactor should be at the lowest point of the containment, so that water leaks run back to where it can be useful. Sodium and other flammable coolants are definitely out, inert gases, molten salts or oxides only. It would be desirable to use fuel elements that can, after the coolant has boiled out, survive on air cooling. And so on. The model is the Triga reactor, designed to be harmless in the hands of a high intelligence, no-judgment, malicious teenager.

And of course, the proper way to run the plants is Rickover's: there are certain procedures, they will be followeed at all times, any deviation from procedure results in disciplinary action, even if there are no bad results.

Overall, our power problems are the result of political inertia: "We do it this way because that's the way we've always done it." Maybe people will get frustrated enough at blackouts and soaring costs to blast this out of the way.

Me, I'm going to pick up a home generator soon. You should too. The invaluable Matt Drudge reports that California will only get a third to a sixth of the extra power Gov. Davis is promising: and (" 'Any warm day from May to October -- it doesn't even have to be abnormally warm -- California is going to be at risk for blackouts,' said Michael Zenker, director of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy and economics consulting firm based in California." "Fe Burian, 46, who moved to San Francisco from the Philippines, said the blackouts had not affected her yet, 'but I come from a Third World country so I know how it is.' " )

As far as interperting the law the way it is written, rather than the way you want it to be: it's definitely too late. Strict Constructionism was effectively killed by Chief Justice John Marshall, in Marbury vs. Madison, and President Thomas Jefferson, who violated the 10th Amendment's limitations on Federal Powers to make the Louisiana Purchase (one of the differences between the U.S. and Confederate Constitutions is explicit authorization of land acquisition). People will not abide by the required limitations on govt power, and the politicians like having a way of sloughing off responsibility to the bureaucrats and courts.

The way we live now? "In his regular weekly roundup with Scott Simon of NPR's Weekend Edition, long-time CBS reporter and current National Public Radio senior news analyst, Daniel Schorr patiently explained the standard, and accepted method of government budgeting: Look at all the problems to be solved; design the government programs necessary to solve them, add up how much all that is going to cost, subtract that from the expected tax revenues, and then - and ONLY then - if there is any money left over, think about a tax cut.

"Mr. Schorr did not sound particularly doctrinaire, he was stating this as simple fact.

"This Administration and the GOP-controlled Congress, according to Mr. Schorr, is doing it backwards: Giving a tax cut and then growing the government by only enough to fit within the revised income estimates." 

A better idea might be a federal initiative/referendum process, with a proviso that any bill passed by, say, two thirds of the electorate nationwide, and carrying a majority in 3/4s of the states is automatically Constitutional.

We also need to end the permanent political career via term limits.

But it may be too late even for that:

"That American life has coarsened over the past several decades is not much argued, but the nature of the beast is still in question. Gertrude Himmelfarb sees it as a struggle between competing elites, in which the Left originated a counterculture that the Right failed to hold back. Daniel Patrick Moynihan has given us the phrase "defining deviancy down," to describe a process in which we change the meaning of moral to fit what we are doing anyway. I wish to add a third voice to the mix, that of the late historian Arnold Toynbee, who would find our recent history no mystery at all: We are witnessing the proletarianization of the dominant minority.

"The language and thought are drawn from a chapter of A Study of History, entitled "Schism in the Soul," in which Toynbee discusses the disintegration of civilizations. He observes that one of the consistent symptoms of disintegration is that the elites—Toynbee’s "dominant minority"—begin to imitate those at the bottom of society." Charles Murray at 

Best wishes, hope you're well, and God Save Us All,


Stephen M. St. Onge 

There is nothing wrong with co-generation and it's in use in many places. It is too much trouble in others. Your problem is that you assume that there is some merit in conserving electrons. There is no intrinsic merit in that at all. Yes there are costs associated with generation and damages sometimes, and conservation often makes sense; but one does not conserve one's way to prosperity.

The problem is that there are two meanings to "conservation." One is conservation in the sense of nature preservation. I got my start writing in that field, and I have been accused of being a fanatic about preserving wilderness; a backpacking elitist. I train my Scouts to leave nothing, not even footprints, and take out only photographs and bags and bags of trash. That kind of conservation has merit.

But I grew up before and during World War II and in the Depression one conserved because one had to, and in WW II even more. "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without."  We learned that in our pores. But it is not virtuous except when you have to live that way. There is no virtue to conserving as opposed to using something up so long as the something is replaceable.

Nuclear energy is a renewable resource. So are most of the other components of civilization. Pollution is bad. Yes. Sure. But it is also something that, given energy, you can deal with, down to taking the pollutants apart to their constituent elements if needed.

CONSERVING ENERGY is not ipso facto virtuous. It may be necessary. It may be economically preferable to other alternatives. It may turn out that new generation with pollution control costs too much, and conservation would be better. It may be. And it may not be. But there is no inherent intrinsic virtue in conserving electrons. The universe has a LOT of them.

As to tinkering with the Constitution, perhaps we must. We no longer have a Federal Republic. We seem to be headed to Empire. At my age I can do little more than sound warnings. That I do.


You are spot on when you say we cannot conserve ourselves out of the power crisis.

A historian once wrote that the history of the West is the history of water in the West. That was true for the 19th Century, but for the 20th Century the history of the West was the history of water and affordable and available power in the West.

We have been living in the most wealthy and comfortable civilization this planet has known. With the extreme environmental positions taken by activists such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and the Planning and Conservation League and politicians now come to fruition, we are turning off the power each day as do large chunks of the Third World. Kalistan indeed.

Curiously my greatest disappointment in this whole situation is the inability of Governor Gray Davis to *DO* anything. A friend wrote me that Davis is powerless" (pun intended). So much for the candidate that has spent his whole life in preparation for the job as California's governor, who we find is only suited to be the regional administrator of Kalistan.

This situation threatens the continuity of our civilization, but our politicians apparently are not sufficiently intelligent to recognize that.

Jim Dodd San Diego 






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Friday, May 11, 2001

There is a lot of mail on the power crisis, most quite good but doesn't add a great deal to the discussion. Which doesn't mean I don't like getting enthusiastic agreement letters! This one asks a question that ought to be answered I suppose, although I thought I had covered it before:

The twentieth century wondered how it would be remembered by history. Anyone who leaves a nuclear waste dump does not need to wonder.

Charles Lloyd Arnold []

He sent that to me but took the trouble to send a copy to the office of the Vide President in the White House. My reply:

Anyone who says that knows little to nothing about the technology.

Then we have a more sensible letter:

I don't consider myself much of an activist and I am all for fusion nuclear power. Niven's "Modest Proposal" not withstanding, what do you propose we do with the waste? That stuff is deadly for longer than we have had civilization. Until fusion plants become an option, we need to conserve.

"Nuclear energy is a renewable resource" Huh? How so??? Have you forgotten the uranium crunch of the 2020's? Oh wait, it's only 2001. Never mind.

Greg Brewer

There are two points here. The first, the waste problem, requires some exposition.

Most nuclear waste is highly active and thus dangerous -- but because it is highly active it is also short lived. I won't go into the details, which are available to anyone who cares to look, but at the end of about 600 years the only things left that are dangerous are the actinides, which is to say, variants of the original fissionables. These are no more, and often less, dangerous than the original materials: and the reason they are long lived is that they are not very radioactive which is to say they are not very dangerous.

One does not want any variety of nuclear waste to become widely distributed, but it's a trivial engineering problem to devise ways to isolate them from the environment. The political problem of educating a public that has been frightened by "ecology" enthusiasts who either don't know better (the head of one California anti-nuclear organization was proud to say "the only physics I ever took was ExLax!") or do know better but think their higher cause justifies lying to the public. There are many flat out liars in the anti-nuclear crusade. Some have degrees in physics.

The simple way to deal with nuclear waste is to take it to the desert -- they are called deserts because it doesn't rain much there and there is little ground water -- build the equivalent of the Superdome, and store it in there. Put a chain link fence around it and use the place as the base for a garrison regiment of desert fighters. The only way anyone is going to get much of it out of there involves a lot more than a pickup truck and some rednecks, and those who do try it are not likely to survive.

Another way is to encase it in glass and take it out over the Mindanao Deep. Drop it into the trench where at some future time it will be subducted into the Earth's mantle and eventually become part of the system that heats the interior of the Earth. It certainly will not pose an additional danger to us that way. 

I could continue. The amount of nuclear waste if the entire US were run on nuclear power amounts to about two aspirin tablets per person per year in size; it can be encased in (actually made part of) glass, and glass is very long lived with respect to the dangerous parts of nuclear waste. [I inadvertantly left out per person when I first put this up.]

The proper way to deal with the really long lived components is to separate them out and use them again.

As to the Uranium Crunch, you do not find what you are not looking for. Uranium ore isn't as rare as you might think, and simple economics will get the prospecting  teams going and the research on ways to recycle and use lower grade ores. Finally, because we don't need so many fissionable for weapons, there's a lot more available for power.

And give us 50 years and we will have Solar Power Satellites. 

It looks like the Nuke industry is going to try to build some new plants. They (mainly Exelon) are looking at building "Pebble Bed" reactors. These are gas cooled reactors with graphite as a moderator. They are supposed to be fail safe, but I don't know all of the details. What I do know is that if they build them, they will have to import all of the fuel they need. The Pebble Bed reactor design requires 8.5% enriched Uranium fuel. The only Uranium enrichment plant in the US can only enrich Uranium to 5.5%. So the utilities will have to buy their fuel from France or Russia.

Also, since the design is new and the NRC hasn't approved it yet, don't expect any new plants to come online before 2010. Nothing happens quickly in the nuclear industry.

Matt Volk

And I know there are better designs than the ones currently licensed: but for the moment would it not be better to build some systems using well tested designs with which we have a lot of experience?

Dear Jerry,

Three is an interesting editorial at  on the subject of California Power.

In the province of Ontario Canada where I live they do a similar operation at the Sir Adam Beck power station near Niagara Falls. They pump water into an artificial lake at night then in the day time it flows back out through the same turbines to generate power. This water then drops over the edge of the escarpment through another power station to generate even more power. They do it this way also since there are treaties between Canada and the US on how much water they can take from the Niagara river and at night they can draw a lot more water. (No tourists to complain about the diminished flow over the falls.)

Thanks for all the great entertainment over the years.

Paul Anderson

Pumped storage is the most efficient way to baseline power (run the plant at operating capacity 24 hours a day) and store up power for peak periods. One of the problems with electrical power is it must be used as made: it is not easily stored, and most storage technology is horribly inefficient. Even pumped storage is inefficient, just more efficient than anything else we have.

But it's pretty horrible: it creates a lake whose surface rises and falls, with violent currents, and it's not a lake that has much recreational use, and when the water is low it ain't pretty. Think of it as a necessary evil in general, although if it is large enough it can be dual use and pretty.

They wanted to do that at Storm King in New York many years ago. I was very opposed to that: it would be ugly and disruptive and spoil some nice places.

Now for something complete different.


I just came across a piece you might find interesting. It's by the guy who maintains, a site that that caters to the very hardware enthusiasts who've been giving you such a hard time whenever you mention that VIA chipsets might be second rate compared to Intel. The title is "A Lower Standard". It looks like even the 'l33t d00dz' are starting to catch on... he does seem to have caught a fair portion of Hell from some of his readers, though, for daring point out that the emperor may be a bit underdressed.... 


Robert Brown

I will not make the obvious comment. Thanks! If people won't believe me and Robert Bruce Thompson, perhaps they will believe this.




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Saturday, May 12, 2001

When I get this kind of mail, I am always at a loss; and I often react, which I should not do.

Subject: Orbital Power Satellites and Energy Transportation

Dear Jerry,

You consistently mention the future use of Orbital Power Satellites. May I enquire as to how you envision the transportation of that power to the distribution point, or an end user. Heinleinesque Beanstalks? Clarke's Orbital Tower? Would we care to beam that many megawatts through the ether and thereby through our own bodies? COULD we beam that many megawatts? If history teaches any lesson at all, it teaches that where there is a will (and enough economic incentive) there is a way, but I was interested in what your thoughts on the matter? On a further thought, I can think of no better way to stimulate research and development of alternative fuel sources for transportation than paying $3.00+/US gal.

Regards, Dave Tygart Davenport, Iowa

Actually I do not have to envision anything. We have tested several methods of power transmission. They work on the same principle that the Sun uses to get energy to Earth. That experiment has been run for a few million years, and while over-exposure to photon energy of the wrong frequency can be dangerous, the general principle seems to work: we use photons. All the megawatts that the Sun pours onto us goes "through the ether".

 No Beanstalk needed. I don't believe that concept was Heinlein's, though. The first I saw of beanstalks was in non-fiction work by Hans Moravec  of Carnegie Tech, and Marvin Minsky of MIT. In fact I published a couple of the wilder speculations. Robert Forward has worked with the idea. Charles Sheffield and Arthur C. Clarke independently wrote novels about the concept. David Gerrold's latest novel makes use of it. It's intriguing, but I do not expect to see it implemented in my lifetime nor in yours. For the moment, we'll have to beam things through the ether.

Microwaves work. You collimate the beam to a kilometer or so in diameter. That's rather a large area, and you can send down a lot of energy at densities not very high. Solar energy at the top of the atmosphere is on the order of a kilowatt per square meter.  At energy densities of three times sunlight you get a lot of energy. Of course you put the receiving antennae in deserts -- you don't want cloud cover. The rectenna (rectifying antenna) sits a couple of meters above ground and intercepts most of the energy; the densities under it are safe enough for cattle to graze, although in fact you won't have any cattle because, as I said, you put it in a desert, say out at China Lake. Power transmission using this system was tested at Goldstone in the 60's.

Although the energy density in the beam isn't firestarting high, it's high enough that you don't want it wandering about. The best mechanism for that is to power the collimator with energy received on Earth and retransmitted back up to the satellite. If the beam wanders off target the collimator is unpowered and the beam disperses. There are other methods of ensuring safety.

Birds flying through the field will be uncomfortable and presumably will leave; but in fact not many birds fly over Death Valley anyway.  And we chop up a lot of birds with windmills (a rather inefficient way to collect energy that came through the ether from the Sun) and few seem to care much because it is "renewable." 

I don't expect to see SSPS in my lifetime either, but I could have. I worked on a Boeing proposal for SSPS in the early 60's. It involved a heavy lift vehicle (reusable, single or two stages to orbit, all parts completely reusable, operations like an air freight line) with technology available in 1961. It was ruled too expensive: partly because in those days nuclear power was considered a good alternative.

I am not anti-nuclear Luddite, but I believe the waste issue is a bit harder than what you had laid out.

The two aspirin pills per year, I believe, is the waste per person (not the entire national waste), and that is if you reprocess the fuel.

Fuel reprocessing, is not quite as antiseptic as you describe.

My European-immigrant mother has this colorful word, "punching", to describe making a sloppy mess with liquids, such as the husband cooking or the kids washing dishes. It may be a cross-language "sound like" word for the sound of sloshing liquid creating that mess.

Fuel reprocessing requires the liquification of (radioactive) metals by dissolving them in acids. Fuel reprocessing involves "punching" with liquids that are both highly radioactive and highly corrosive. Liquid compounds containing fissionable elements have this nasty potential for "assembly" into critical masses by concentrating the right elements in the wrong vat. A fatal accident happened in Japan a couple year ago in this manner where workers suffered radiation poisoning from a burst of neutrons.

As for the Western desert as a spent fuel repository, what is desert happens to be quite geologically young and perhaps plate-tectonically or even volcanically active withing the past few thousands of years -- that is holding up the Yucca Mountain deal more than anything else. My neck of the woods, here in Wisconsin, is geologically ancient and plate-tectonically safe but is quite wet (yeah, thats the ticket for keeping it away from my back yard!).

The problem is that there are no simple solutions to anything -- environmentalists claim conservation is the answer while few of them have compact fluorescent bulbs in their houses -- they whine about the color or the electronic hum. And then the greener-than-thou governmental authorities scold home owners that spent compact fluorescents (they do burn out, as you find out when every light in your house is compact fluorescent) contain mercury and constitute "toxic waste."

I suggest that we simply continue to store the spent fuel assemblies, above ground and on site of the power plants, authorizing more holding areas if needed. Some time in the near future we may discover that the stuff is a treasure-trove of otherwise rare radioactive elements. Yes, we will accumulate a lot of spent fuel rods, but that is easier to deal with than releasing all that C02 into the atmosphere and trying to remediate it by dumping iron into the oceans to cause algea blooms.

Paul Milenkovic Madison, Wisconsin

Actually the problem is easier than I made out. First, yes, it's per person per year; I seem to have been sloppy.

But in fact, once you store the stuff for a few years, you could dump into streams or into the ocean without much harm. Of course no one will do that, but in fact in a hundred years -- and deserts are rather old compared to that number -- there's just not much radiation danger. (There are chemical toxins, so I don't mean we really would just dump it.) You can make nuclear waste into glass, and that's nearly eternal, and there are many things to do with it. It is just an engineering problem and not much of one compared to the chemical toxins that come out of stack scrubbers for coal plants.

If you want to give up energy and thus civilization, fine; if not, there is a cost, and nuclear imposes a smaller one than most power sources.

Keeping the stuff on site until you want it probably works. Darned near ANYTHING works. I was being a bit whimsical about the Mojave and a Superdome, but that would work. That's really my point. It's pretty easy to take care of compared to hard problems.

Hans Moravec Was the name you were looking for. Charles Sheffield, in an article mumble years ago in DESTINIES, stated that Moravec is where he got His inspiration. Sir Arthur says the first Beanstalk will be built about 50 years after people stop laughing. I read somewhere (Sorry, don't now remember where) that carbon nanotubes are strong enough to do the job, if we can manufacture the strands long enough.

I suspect that that might be possible in microgravity. And of course, the thing is going to have to be manufactured in space, out of carbonaceous asteroid material. Thus, we are going to need an affordable space transportation system and a large power generating system already in place before we can even begin. Just another reason to DO something.

Best Always, Frank Luxem 

Yes. Indeed. I recall discussing the matter with Sir Arthur and Larry Niven at a party at my house many years ago. (Larry was giving a party at his house; I said I couldn't come since I was having a reception for Arthur Clarke at mine; Larry left his own party to come to my house. I have a nice picture of me, Arthur, Larry, and Robert Block taken that night...)










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