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Mail 184 December 17 - 23, 2001 

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Highlights this week:

IF YOU SEND MAIL it may be published; if you want it private SAY SO AT THE TOP of the mail. I try to respect confidences, but there is only me, and this is Chaos Manor. If you want a mail address other than the one from which you sent the mail to appear, PUT THAT AT THE END OF THE LETTER as a signature. In general, put the name you want at the end of the letter: if you put no address there none will be posted, but I do want some kind of name, or explicitly to say (name withheld).

Note that if you don't put a name in the bottom of the letter I have to get one from the header. This takes time I don't have, and may end up with a name you didn't want on the letter. Do us both a favor: sign your letters to me with the name you want posted.

I try to answer mail, but mostly I can't get to all of it. I read it all, although not always the instant it comes in. I do have books to write too...  I am reminded of H. P. Lovecraft who slowly starved to death while answering fan mail. 

Monday -- Tuesday -- Wednesday -- Thursday -- Friday -- Saturday -- Sunday
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If you want to PAY FOR THIS there are problems, but I keep the latest HERE. I'm trying. MY THANKS to all of you who sent money.  Some of you went to a lot of trouble to send money from overseas. Thank you! There are also some new payment methods. I am preparing a special (electronic) mailing to all those who paid: there will be a couple of these. I am also toying with the notion of a subscriber section of the page. LET ME KNOW your thoughts.

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This week:



Monday  December 17, 2001



On my wife's PC just now I got a dialog box asking to associate the file POSTER-LIST.CSV with an application. This looked suspicious to me, so I canceled the dialog, immediately got onto Google and did a search on that string. That led me to a message on a Yahoo group, at <  >. In essence, the Hybris worm (W95/Hybris.worm.B according to F-Prot) will put a copy of POSTER-LIST.CSV in every folder on your hard drive, and is in some way related to BLACKD.EXE. I did a file search on that filename, and, sure enough, after about 15 seconds of searching it had located over 300 copies of the file. I updated the antivirus software on my wife's machine, and it located a bunch of suspicious files.

Apparently W95/Hybris.worm.B infects WSOCK32.DLL and strews a bunch of files with seemingly nonsense names throughout C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM as well; one of its obvious footprints is the POSTER-LIST.CSV file. I'm in the process of disinfecting my wife's machine; mine appears to have been untouched, and I have yet to check my mother-in-law's machine.

You might advise your other subscribers and correspondents to be on the lookout if you have not already done so.





A somewhat different view of the problems of education:

I had to respond to the comments about teachers and their management, and particularly to your replies.

My sister had what passes for the typical layman's perspective: everybody's trying to make schools better, but the unions block all reforms and ruin everything. She had her eyes opened when she became a teacher a few years ago, especially after election to a union position. Her experience ran counter to popular mythology. Her organization isn't out to protect bad teachers from accountability. She and her qualified colleagues feel all too keenly the consequences of OTHER teachers' poor handling of students, as well as the general wrath over bad teachers. 

They are not interested in protecting bad teachers -- only in protecting their right to due process. A private-sector manager accepts the need to document a bad employee's behavior with a sufficient and persuasive paper trail. School principals do not appear to accept this. If they can't fire someone by dashing off a one-page memo, they can't be bothered. They really will not go to the trouble. So the faculty is stuck with peers who make them look bad, but they won't sacrifice their own rights just to get rid of them. Principals can be as capricious and vindictive as anyone, and do not report to on-site superiors.

The role of principals has escaped the severe public scrutiny teachers have long endured. My brother-in-law learned this while completing his teaching credentials. For some reason, the principal had it in for him -- perhaps my brother-in-law was a brash young Turk who threatened the man's little apple cart somehow. After spending days setting up equipment for a science project, my brother-in-law unlocked his classroom one morning to find everything smashed and ruined. The principal was unmoved, and apparently sneered. 

I used to date a teacher who was one of the best at her school -- students loved her, the elite kids all wanted her, and many went on to pursue in college and in life the languages and history she taught them. She had many stories too, mostly dealing with the contradictory burdens imposed on teachers by parents and not relieved by principals who regard the noisier parents as their customers. A teacher may WANT to stand fast on principle, yet get no support from her "management", or the parents. 

When I was a kid, I knew a bully whose career in schoolyard terrorism went uninterrupted because his father ran a huge local construction company. I found out recently that the father was eventually indicted for substandard work on freeways. I can only hope his kid went to prison with him. Other bullies got away with it because they were jocks, nevermind how they interfered with other kids' education.

For more on how many parents play THEIR role today, don't miss 

Isolated cases, you may argue. So may anyone's case be called -- from a sufficient remove! All else that anyone has is the opinion of the armchair.

Robert S. Sercombe

I have heard stories like that too; and it is certainly the case that a good principal can make a lot of difference. But the fact remains that in California at least the Teachers' Union is the most powerful lobby in the state, and has shaped nearly every Education Bill the state has. Prior to recognizing collective bargaining -- California did not in the 60's -- California public schools were up at the top in effectiveness. Now, with a great deal more money, they are near the bottom. We spend money, but we don't get results, and the number of teachers fired for incompetence is nearly zero.

The fact is that most principals don't build cases against incompetent teachers because it does no good to do so. Nothing will come of it so why bother?

Plot spending against results in the California public schools.

One problem is credentialism: if you accumulate the "credentials" which can be as meaningless as sitting through a few hours of dull "workshop" you are considered more effective than someone who is not "credentialed." Effectiveness has little to do with it.

The only solution is local control of schools. Some local boards will be awful. Some will be good. But with these enormous districts with no chance for the school board to know anyone in the district, the unions control, and the results are what you see. I wish it were different.

At least, given my wife's software, anyone can teach their own children to read; and that is one great big head start given the way the schools work here.

As to discipline, once again, a principal has to build a legal case to discipline a student. In my day we got a few whacks. If I didn't deserve the whack I got, I pretty well deserved one for something I got away with. No records, no big files. At Capleville consolidated where I went from 5 - 7, the Principal kept a paddle in the office. The Principal also taught grades 7-8, being a "principal teacher". There was no Assistant Principal and no administrative people. Of course there was a war on. But we had 30 kids per grade and 2 grades per classroom and teacher and you know, we all learned. But we were disciplined. Indeed.

In high school the Christian Brothers didn't bother with sending you to the principal's office. You could get whacked or write lines. I chose lines for talking in class and thus learned, by writing it ten times (having had to go to the public library to find it) "Ivan Skavinsky Skivar" sometimes known as the Ballad of Abdul the BulBul Amir, but other times it was simpler to take your whack, say "Thank you Brother" (the bit about saying "May I have another" was legend) and have it over with.  

I seem to have got a decent education despite growing up in benighted Tennessee....

Enough.  The problem is lack of local control of schools, and it will continue until we return control to local districts.



We had many responses to the request for help with data recovery from a hard drive. I have forwarded most but this one is good advice to everyone:

Suggest trying Spinrite from  to find and fix your bad sector problem.

===== -- John Bartley johnbartley3 

Gibson's Spinrite is still worth knowing about.

And a Racansky Report

A survey of Anglican clergy has found that 1 in 8 have been assaulted.

Because they often deal with the lower-class while providing aid, British clergy are often subject to attack. Others have been attacked for their outspoken criticism of gangs, while people who are denied their preferred wedding day can also turn violent.,,2-2001581707,00.html 

The Times (London) Monday December 17, 2001

"Clergy to take up martial arts"

by Christine Buckley, Industrial Editor

SOMETIMES it is good to turn the other cheek. And sometimes it is better to fight back with a swift kick in the groin. Clergymen and women are to be given martial-arts training amid concern that they are too vulnerable to attack. The white-collar union MSF, which represents more than 1,500 clergy, is to begin self-defence classes based on tae kwon do in the new year.

Grasshopper, call home...


Spider Robinson's take on Sept 11 and particularly the video just released is at


"We're talking about a mental midget and a moral microbe."

David Paterson

We are also talking about what may be the most stupid URL scheme on the Internet.

As to the content, underestimating your enemies is not usually the best strategy. One should not take counsel from one's fears, but giving the devil his due is usually worthwhile. For more on this see below.








This week:



Tuesday,  December 18, 2001

This is from 

About a SCAM USING PAYPALS. NOTE it only uses PayPals, it is not something they have done, and there is no reason not to USE PayPals. Read this and BEWARE:

PayPal Scam Posted 12/18/2001 - 11:22AM, by hanser

Thanks to fuzz in the Lounge for this heads up. Apparently someone has created an exact replica of PayPal's site and modified it slightly. Here is a copy of the email being sent to people:

From: To: Subject: Get $5 from PayPal! X-Mailer: X-Mailer Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 21:09:19 -0500

Season's Greetings Valued PayPal Customer;

As the New Year approaches and as we all get ready to move a year ahead, PayPal would like to give you a $5 credit to your account!

All you have to do to claim your $5 gift from us is update your information on our secure Pay Pal site by January 1st, 2002. A year brings a lot of changes, by updating your information with us you will allow for us to continue providing you and our valued customer service with excellent service and in the meantime, keep our records straight!

To update your information now and to receive $5 in your PayPal account instantly, click this link: 

Thank you for using and helping us grow to be the largest of our kind! Sincerely wishing you a very "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,"

PayPal Team is not affiliated in any with PayPal. All links, including the errors, go back to the real PayPal site. Interestingly enough, going to displays a directory listing. I thought I'd give you all a heads-up, as I myself might have fallen for it had I not seen the thread. It should also be noted that all PayPal URLs start with https://

Since I have recommended PayPal here and use it -- with very good results -- I thought I had better post this warning. THANKS TO ROBERT BROWN  for bringing it to my attention.



Just saw this on Ars Technica and thought you might be interested, since you use Pay Pal. There's a new scam floating around (I'm not sure how widespread it is, but it seems clever enough to get at least some people to fall for it). 

As of right now the PayPal Scam story is at the top of the page, but it may have drifted down a bit by the time you look; they sometimes post news throughout the day.

---- Robert Brown "Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

Thank you. 

Now this:

From: Stephen M. St. Onge

Subject: Republic or Empire?

Dear Jerry:

You aren't the only one worried. See, "Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012." It was, by the way, which won National Defense University's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategy Essay Competition last year.

Very interesting.

Best, Stephen

I will have to have a look when I get past some deadlines. Thanks.

And Tracy Walters thought he had seen everything:

Heh. On which subject, this one gets a 'heh' from Roland Dobbins: 

And JoAnne Dow points out that bureaucrats will be bureaucrats... 

This is about Charlotte airport's being shut down for awhile when one of the magnetometers was discovered to be unplugged. All passengers still on the ground were rescreened. But then:

>From within the story: "Passengers aboard flights that had already taken off were rechecked at their destinations, said FAA spokesman Chris White."

Now this seems to be in the finest anal retentive bureaucratic tradition. Supposedly the object is to prevent "weapons" (like fingernail clippers) from getting on to airplanes, right? How does screening the passengers AFTER the flight change what got onto the airplane? To the bureaucratic mind the important thing is that everybody be hassled^H^H^H^H^H^H^H er "checked" not that nasty objects be kept off the flights.

The only mitigating circumstance might be all too typical CNN mucked up wording. Perhaps only passengers planning to board connecting flights at the unchecked flight's destination were rechecked. If so then CNN should have so stated, methinks. But given the mindsets I have noticed in the security community, long on "procedure" and short on "thought process", the stated recheck of all passengers as they landed is probably more to the point. I have too many years living with a security clearance while working on DoD projects to think otherwise. These people work on "tick sheets", real or mental. They do not work on "intended results" at all.


And indeed the notion of taking over an airplane with a nail file is so silly that only a bureaucrat could persuade himself that it is possible. And these creatures get PAID to do this.

The author of this very famous article thought the military would have to make an empire. I don't think he could have written a believable story about the republic being handed over voluntarily. 

and a follow-up  <<PARAMETERS, US Army War College Quarterly - Winter 1992.url>>


This article takes a strong stance in the Republic-vs-Empire debate: 

Also, about a month ago, at the age of 38, I started learning Latin for the "fun" of it. Your writing played a significant role in making it seem worthwhile. I can tell you that it's been worth every minute.

Larry Elmore

One might also look up "The Conquest of the United States by Spain" by William Graham Sumner which makes much the same point as Peters: the Spanish American War was decisive but not in the way we thought.

Richard Stahlman on the latest in the Adobe case. It comes in three parts written at different times:

Dmitry Sklyarov is safe from the DMCA, but Americans are not. We must not lose the impetus that his case provided.

The dropping of charges against Sklyarov is a good thing, but we must not think of it as our victory, because we did not win it. Rather, it is largesse from powers that feel completely triumphant. They believe that their successes in court, together with the example presented by Sklyarov's treatment so far, make their dominion so strong that nothing can challenge it.

It is up to us to change this state of affairs. In general, we should focus on Adobe and the other corporations that paid for and use the DMCA, not on the FBI and DOJ which are merely their servants. The DMCA is a weapon; those who choose to use it against the public should be held morally responsible for their decision to do so.

Sklyarov must have large legal expenses, and expenses for his unintended stay in the US. These represent an injury that was done to him by Adobe. We should demand that Adobe compensate him for this injury, and promise they will never do to anyone else what they did to him. Until they do, we should picket their offices and urge the public to refuse to do business with them.

In cities where there is an active group of protestors but no important Adobe presence, we can picket publishing companies that issue Adobe ebooks. Or other companies that in some way menace us with the DMCA, such as movie companies or record companies. Or legislators such as Barney Frank who supported the DMCA.

It might be useful for someone to find a schedule of Pat Schroeder's public appearances--or ask the public to be on the lookout for them. She gave a speech in the Boston area in October, a campaign appearance for a candidate, and I was mailed a letter about it; unfortunately I was traveling and did not see the letter until too late. If her friends find that her support brings a protest, she may find herself a less valued acquaintance.


I did not know that this was a plea bargain--I heard that charges had been dropped. That puts it in a very different light: he has done harm to others that far exceeds the harm he has avoided for himself. I won't claim I would have done better, since I have never been in that situation--but the question of how strong I am is beside the point. Sklyarov had a duty to resist, and he failed in his duty.

It appears that another consequence is that he will be unable to help our movement by speaking. In effect, he has defected.

At this point, the only thing left for us to do is to push hard to punish Adobe--so hard that anyone will think twice before daring to do this again. Sklyarov is no longer a cause celebre, but we can make Adobe a cause celebre if we work at it.

So who is for a loud boycott and picketing of Adobe? Will the EFF spearhead it? The EFF has concentrated on action in court, and that approach was worth trying--but it has been almost exhausted, and has failed. I hope they will not shrink from joining a different kind of action now.




When I read Seth Finkelstein's message saying that Sklyarov had agreed to "cooperate with the United States in its ongoing prosecution", and showing damaging-looking statements he had agreed to make, it appeared that he was giving the US government exactly what it wants in order to nail ELCOM and put a nail in the coffin of our freedom. I commented based on that understanding of the nature of the deal.

Since then, people have told me that the situation is more complicated; that his testimony won't necessarily help the prosecution much, and that the deal will make it easier for ELCOM to argue its case. I'm glad to hear that things are not as bad as they looked. So I withdraw my criticism of Sklyarov for making the deal, and I apologize if I misjudged its nature.

The truly important issue is not one programmer, one company, or one case; it is the DMCA and our freedom. On this issue, I stand by what I have said. We must put the strongest pressure on Adobe, on movie companies that make encrypted DVDs, and on any other companies that now or in the future use the DMCA weapon against our freedom. We must teach them to regret their arrogance.


What is important here is a principle: the United States, having done something stupid, is not about to apologize or admit error. It seeks a "win" by getting a meaningless plea bargain. Face saving and all that.

Adobe started this, and Adobe is responsible. Adobe persuaded the DOJ that there was something real here. DOJ was uninformed at best, and misanalysed at best, and now wants off the hook. "It wasn't our fault." the heck it wasn't. They managed to persuade DOJ that a silly case was a good case.

But DOJ should have just up and said "OK. We were wrong. We should not have done this. Let right be done."  But we no longer have it in us to do that, whether the AG is Janet Reno or John Ashcroft. After 911 there was probably little attention given to this idiocy in high places, so things skidded along on autopilot, and the autopilot action in our legal system now is a "win". Justice and right are irrelevant. Such is the course of Empire.

Sklyarov was caught in the midst of it all, besieged by a superpower and a multi-billion corporation at the same time; one can hardly blame him for not wanting to be the test case. Some time ago EFF urged Adobe to make amends by paying Sklyarov's expenses. They of course declined although it would have been the best return on a PR investment they ever made. And now it all ends with a whimper, and DMCA continues...

Joel Rosenberg on Spider Robinson's article:

"As to the content, underestimating your enemies is not usually the best strategy"

Well, yeah. And while Spider's a sweet guy, he seems not terribly unusual in his relentless need to underestimate the enemy, in both capabilities and numbers.

I can understand that. If the problem is just one guy in a turban -- well, probably a burka, at the moment -- and who looks more than vaguely like Ctein, come to think of it, no big deal. If it's just this one guy and a few disaffected Saudi bourgeois kids who have done the Muslim equivalent of joining the Manson family, it's not a much bigger deal.

If on the other hand, what we're seeing is the rebirth of the Abbasids -- and that's precisely the model that the revolutionary Islamists are using, aided and abetted by support that it wouldn't have occurred to the Umayyads to give their erstwhile supplanters -- we've barely begun to take the first step, and haven't begun to acknowledge that we can't count on the modern-day Umayyads to do our dirty work for us, in part since they are, in a remarkable repetition of history, trying to coopt their replacements.

-- ------------------------------------- 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. -------------------------------------

When I mentioned Spider's thesis to my wife she said "So how did he take over a whole country from the inside if he's so stupid?" Which is the right question. 

The world struggle between East and West is old and continues. C Northcote Parkinson wrote one analysis in a book called, oddly enough, East and West; but the best book I know on this, and in fact one of the best one-volume summary histories of Western Civilization, is Fletcher Pratt's BATTLES THAT CHANGED HISTORY, written at a time when Midway was just past and it wasn't entirely clear if Midway actually belonged in the series (it probably didn't: the US could have lost at Midway and would still have won the war. Newt Gingrich's novel 1945 to the contrary, it wasn't really a near run thing. Of course in those days we had Detroit, which we don't have any more...

But it is well to put the current wars in context, as Joel does, and Fletcher Pratt did. Real Islam, what is in the Koran (which in theory can never be changed) can only have truce with the War World, which is everything that isn't part of Islam. It is true enough that western ways have tamed some Islamic sects to where they are indistinguishable from unitarianism, but then that is the case for much of Christianity -- the difference being that Christians were commanded to preach to all nations, not to make forcible converts and levy tribute on unbelievers. The Christians got most of that out of their system in the Crusades. After Lepanto the West couldn't even bring itself to recapture Rhodes or liberate Greece : Venice needed the Turkish markets too badly, and the notion of "Christendom" was gone, crumbling even as the Empire held the Turks under Suleiman at the gates of Vienna. Don John of Austria could barely hold the coalition together long enough to win at Lepanto, and even there it looks as if Andrea Doria was more concerned with keeping his Genoese fleet intact to counter Venice than in defeating the Turks.

(Coalitions tend to do that: break apart along lines of national interest as soon as those interests conflict at all. Look for Bush II's coalition to crumble soon enough. Which isn't to say it's not worth while holding on to one while one can, but the fact is we don't need NATO and what NATO could contribute isn't in general much worth having. I leave Britain as a special case.)

Next year in Baghdad.

I haven't seen this but it doesn't really surprise me...

 Dear Jerry,

The Washington Times reports yesterday that government "scientists" falsified research on the territory of a rare lynx species as a way to close two Washington forests to multiple use.

Please take a look!

Bruce Kebbekus 

Ah well.










This week:




Hiding out to write.







This week:


read book now


Thursday, December 20, 2001

I would be curious to know if this works. Thanks to LASFS Scribe Charles Lembke


-----Original Message----- From: Joan Steward [mailto:joansteward]

Hi, I wrote X10 to express my annoyance at their "pop-under" ads. This is their response and most importantly how to disable the "pop-under" ads. So this is a FYI..... Hugs, Joan

>From: "Kenny Foshaug" <> >To: "'joan steward'" <joansteward> >

Subject: [THR188684]: Your advertising >Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 13:56:57 -0800 > >Thank you for contacting us with your concerns. These ads >are opened when you visit a site that we have an advertising >relationship with and they do not track you personally. We >advertise on many popular web sites; any of the sites you >visit regularly might run our ads. Because of the way the >ads work, you should only see them once a day from each of >the sites they are on. > >You can remove yourself from our pop-under advertising by >following the instructions at the bottom of this page: > >   > >If you follow these instructions, a cookie will be placed on >your PC that tells us not to display the ads to you.

I would be curious indeed. Some "service" notices are merely more spam address collectors. And do you want their cookies?  If anyone tries this please let me know.

From Joel Rosenberg: 

"The Air Force reportedly has purchased fewer Predators--the small unmanned crafts that provide real-time intelligence that makes air and ground forces ``smarter''--than are needed, partly because they do not require pilots."

Err . . . but there are reports all over the place of the Predators not working. Couldn't that have something to do with it? Arguably, the right response to that, for the moment, is to throw more money at the problem -- if half the Predators break down over Afghanistan, then have three times the number you need -- but maybe somebody should consider how the program got bloated?

FWIW, after some thought -- and without claiming an expertise that I clearly don't have -- I think he's wrong about the Army needing to become more like the Marines. We already have the Marines, and if we need more marines and fewer soldiers, well, that could be done -- a new Marine division could be produced a whole lot faster than an Army division could be turned into other than an ersatz version.

(How, without getting rid of the Air Force -- I agree with you that it should be done, but it doesn't appear to be on the table -- would a Division Lite get integral air support from the most effective tool available, rather than the most effective tool available that happens to have a rotary wing? And then there's the logistics issues -- the Marines are set up to get not-a-whole-lot-of-stuff-but-enough-for-a-while there fast, because that level of stuff travels with them, and the Army isn't.)

It'll take some time to get a couple of armored divisions to Iraq, for example, but it's hard to dispute that great, big, heavy tanks are useful in that environment.

Still, latest word suggests that Somalia is next on the list, rather than Iraq. Sounds like State trying to hold the "coalition" together as long as possible, which may even be the right move, my own skepticism of coalitions and coalition-building aside.

"Next year in Baghdad." From your mouth to Bush's ear, as my tribe says . . 

The Marines and Navy belong to the President, the Army to the Congress, under the historical division anyway: it takes a Declaration of War to send in the Army, but the President can send in the Marines and Navy. I would not like to see the Army become Marines

And the Navy/Marines don't have to deal with USAF, an enormous plus.


Thought you might be interested in this. If you've never tried the "Flashman" series, they're a good read, written by someone who's also Been There (though with a different tone than much of your work). Also try _Quartered Safe Out Here_ , Mr. Fraser's story of his time in the army in Burma.

"It's always the same before the shooting begins--the hostesses go into a frenzy of gaiety, and all the spongers and civilians crawl out of the wainscoting braying with good fellowship because thank God they ain't going, and the young plungers and green striplings roister it up, and their fiancees let 'em pleasure them red in the face because the poor brave boy is off to the cannon's mouth, and the dance goes on and the eyes grow brighter and the laughter shriller--and the older men in their dress uniforms look tired, and sip their punch by the fireplace and don't say much at all."

George MacDonald Fraser, _Flashman At The Charge_

Anyway, Happy/Merry Christmas.


Flashman is an interpreting character, and one of the more  ingenius bits of writing is getting him to all the places he appears in.

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

Spider Robinson should look to J.P. Morgan and Howard Hughes as examples of smart men who took inherited fortunes and made themselves both extremely wealthy and very powerful through intelligence and good management. Osama bin Laden has done well in this area. I do not like him or agree with his philosophies, but he does know how to manage money and people. So did Adolph Hitler, and I did not care for him, either.

Ralph Peters makes one point in his article on stability as the enemy that needs stronger emphasis. Every location and set of circumstances is different. The American love of labels fails completely in the area of foreign cultures. For a quick example, take religion. Buddhism, as practiced in Thailand, involves delicate artwork, where the position of every hand and foot of a statue has religious significance. The national history includes one episode where a beautiful queen was kidnapped by eight-armed Hindu demons. A close personal friend was a Baptist missionary there for years, and his mission is still converting those with modern views. Also, the great-grandmother of famous Socialist Norman Mattoon Thomas was the missionary brought in to westernize the royal household. She was later fictionalized, and probably slandered, as Anna, of _Anna and the King of Siam_.

Thai Buddhism is completely different from that in South Korea, where the stone statues show Japanese influence and the wooden statues are Korean carvings. Korean Buddhism is proud of its scientific accomplishments and long traditions, and its brightly colored icons reflect strength. When my nephew was married in the Roman Catholic church in Kyong Ju, Buddhist gongs were part of the wedding ceremony, which was follwed in an anteroom by bowing to all elderly relatives, a Buddhist tradition. The militant Buddhism practiced in Japan, besides being a contradiction in terms, is different from that in Thailand and Korea. I have no experience with Indian Buddhism.

The Chinese are considered to be enemies of organized religion. However, they still invited my Korean-American brother-in-law, a Baptist missionary, to the Chinese-North Korean border area for a few weeks to take care of the spiritual needs of area people.

This whole discussion is meant to show that generalities are dangerous, and the American love for them has resulted in our nationals being regarded as immature brats, representing a very young government, meddling in affairs they are much to uneducated to understand, much less influence.


William L. Jones


You've probably already seen this. Pretty interesting tho.  German Source: U.S. Expected to Strike Somalia Next BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States is likely to strike Somalia next in its war against Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s al Qaeda network, a senior German official said on Wednesday.

``It's not a question of 'if' but of 'how' and 'when','' the official said after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld briefed NATO (news - web sites) defense ministers Tuesday on Washington's war against terrorism.

``Anyone who rules out Somalia would be a fool,'' said the German official, who declined to be identified. There was no immediate comment from the United States.

Rumsfeld told reporters that Yemen and Sudan were known to harbor active al Qaeda cells and Somalia had hosted leaders of the network in the past.

He said the United States required no new authorization from the U.N. Security Council to strike suspected terrorist targets outside Afghanistan (news - web sites), adding: ``Every country has the right to self-defense.''

-Andy Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.

And something that should not surprise us:

Dear Dr. Pournelle, According to the Washington Post,, the US began going after Bin Laden, and threatening the Taliban with war, in 1998, with some efforts started in 1993. Some excerpts:

"Unfolding in the last two years of his presidency, long before the events of Sept. 11, Clinton's war was marked by caution ... Reluctant to risk lives, failure or the wrath of brittle allies ... Clinton confined planning for lethal force within two significant limits. American troops would use weapons aimed from a distance, and their enemy would be defined as individual terrorists, not the providers of sanctuary for attacks against the United States.

Within those boundaries, there was much more to the war than has reached the public record"

"Put baldly, several principal advisers said recently, the political and diplomatic market would not bear such a war."

"Scores of times ... they persuaded allies to arrest members of al Qaeda and ship them somewhere else. Frequently, somewhere else was not the United States. ... One episode took place in Albania ... After foiling a truck bomb plot against the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, American intelligence officers guided Albanian authorities to five arrests of Egyptian Islamic Jihad members. The Americans flew the five men to Egypt, where they were executed after a military trial."

It looks like many of us were fooled by Al Quaeda. From April 1999. 

"The result has been to move funds allocated for training to operations like the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan (it's now clear it never had been involved in manufacture of war gasses or anything else other than legitimate pharmaceuticals), the bombing of a camp in Afghanistan where we managed to kill some Pakistani middle class on a religious retreat"

The problem was that the administration didn't want to reveal sources and methods, so the only information we got were statements from the Bad Guys that they were really saints.

Sincerely, Kit Case

Well, in my own case I saw CNN and Reuters interviews of survivors of the bombardment of the camps. No one questioned who they were. If Clinton was trying to do something about Bin Laden he wasn't terribly effective.





This week:



Friday, December 21, 2001

I sent two worm/virus/security hole warnings to subscribers. Following is in reference:


Thanks for the mails with the heads up about XP security vulnerabilities.

I downloaded and installed the latest critical update from Windows Update. That part went well. When Windows Update works, it works well...and not to rub it in, but when you are trying to get three machines taken care of, broadband access can be a life saver.

CAUTION: the update may cause problems synchronization problems with Palm and pocket PC devices. After applying the update, I can't sync Microsoft Outlook 2000 calendar or contact databases with my Compaq iPac. Other applications continue to sync just fine. Still researching this and will keep you posted.

Regards and best wishes for a the holidays,

Ron Morse


And a reader asks for help. Send directly to him: I'm on a tight schedule for a few days.


I'm hoping someone out there can help me. I have a system here that was running Windows 2000 and it crashed. Repairing Windows did not work. To get the computer running, we installed a new drive as C:, made the original D:, and set up a new copy of Windows on C:. Now I need to get all the Outlook Express keys from the old registry (on D:) into the new one. Does anyone know of a switch in regedit that will let me specify the registry to look at, or another program that can do this?

Chris Keavy

Then this:

Dear Jerry:

In regards to your "War Games" article from the week of December 17, 2001, I was wondering why you decided to comment on a video game console? Why now?

Console-based video games have been becoming the rage for more than five years, ever since Sony's PlayStation entered the market. Since then, several gaming consoles have been released: Nintendo's N64, Sega's Dreamcast, Sony's PlayStation 2, Microsoft's XBox, and Nintendo's new GameCube. I am curious as to why the XBox has the honor of being the first console for you to unilaterally review in your column?

The reason I ask is because Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal did the same thing in his "Personal Technology" column a few weeks back. His one-sdied review of a gaming console was as uncharacteristic there as yours was on If you guys are going to start reviewing gaming consoles, at least do a full comparison and review each console as it comes out (the PlayStation 2 has been out for more than a year). Don't worry, I don't suspect any sort of Microsoft payola or anything -- I trust your and Mr. Mossberg's integrity far too much to think that would ever be the issue.

I am not detracting from the XBox. It is a piece of glorious technology. But right now the PlayStation 2 and GameCube are dazzling in their own right, and they have titles which shine brightly in the area which games are all about -- playability. I am not against you talking about console games, but you might want to cover a wider array of products so your readers can see what is out there. If there were suddenly multiple high-bandwidth alternatives where you live (don't you wish!) would you only use and write about one? I wouldn't think so, considering that you are the guy who "tries all these things so you won't have to."

Merry Christmas!

Joe Kaufman

First. I have written about consoles boxes before, but I never had any great reason to find them all that new and different. Until you get a hard disk into the system it's hard to save games, and I certainly don't intend to sit there and "just until I finish this level so I can save" all night. 

What struck me about XBOX was the SF game. I found it fascinating.

And there is only me. If you want a lot of comparative reviews there are whole magazines devoted to that: I can only tell you what I like and don't like, and at Comdex I found the XBOX interesting.

JoAnne Dow says: 

Why am I not in the least surprised? The alliance let just a whole lot of the Taliban go as if they were good buddies. Didn't they learn anything? Are Afghan's stupid as well as ill educated?


I think it would take a lot more space than I have, and more knowledge as well, to analyze Afghanistan.

I repeat: for me, the goal is to send a clear message to the ruling classes everywhere: let people who harm us use your country as a base, and we will change the ruling class in your country. It is in your interest to protect the US against people in your country. If you don't do it, we'll keep changing your ruling class until you get one that understands that. Meanwhile, we do not want to run your country, and we'll get out of the way.

Have a nice year.

You've probably already seen this. Pretty interesting tho.  German Source: U.S. Expected to Strike Somalia Next BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States is likely to strike Somalia next in its war against Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s al Qaeda network, a senior German official said on Wednesday.

``It's not a question of 'if' but of 'how' and 'when','' the official said after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld briefed NATO (news - web sites) defense ministers Tuesday on Washington's war against terrorism.

``Anyone who rules out Somalia would be a fool,'' said the German official, who declined to be identified. There was no immediate comment from the United States.

Rumsfeld told reporters that Yemen and Sudan were known to harbor active al Qaeda cells and Somalia had hosted leaders of the network in the past.

He said the United States required no new authorization from the U.N. Security Council to strike suspected terrorist targets outside Afghanistan (news - web sites), adding: ``Every country has the right to self-defense.''

-Andy Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.

The question is, who do we fight in Somalia? And who do we support? Probably the simplest thing there is to seal the borders and throw in guns. As O'Rourke says, "Everybody did it. In the Living Room. With an Ak-47." Do we go in an install Aidid's successor just as the movie Blackhawk Down goes on screen?

And now this:

The FBI is asking for access to a massive database that contains the private communications and passwords of the victims of the Badtrans Internet worm. Badtrans spreads through security flaws in Microsoft mail software and transmits everything the victim types. Since November 24, Badtrans has violated the privacy of millions of Internet users, and now the FBI wants to take part in the spying. --- Last week the FBI contacted the owner of MonkeyBrains, Rudy Rucker, Jr., and requested a cloned copy of the password database and keylogged data. The database includes only information stolen from the victims of the virus, not information about the perpetrator. The FBI wants indiscriminant access to the illegally extracted passwords and keystrokes of over two million people without so much as a warrant. Even with a warrant they would have to specify exactly what information they are after, on whom, and what they expect to find. Instead, they want it all and for no justifiable reason. 

----- Eek.

Welcome to Empire.....and watch what you say.

-Andy Dogs have owners. Cats have staff.

EEEK Indeed.

Dear Dr Pournelle

 "Real Islam, what is in the Koran (which in theory can never be changed) can only have truce with the War World, which is everything that isn't part of Islam."

In that connection, I've been trying to find a 1980's Economist editorial which said much the same thing in that magazine's usual literate and pointed manner. They compared the uncompromising doctrine of Islam to that of several religions, Christianity and Judaism in particular.

I particular recall their observation that in principle Judaism could be at least as warlike and intolerant, but that it would require a descendant of King David, duly anointed in the temple of Solomon, to lead the nation of Israel. This eventuality was considered a little unlikely.

Regards, TC

-- Terry Cole System Administrator Dept. of Maths and Stats, Otago University PO. Box 56, Dunedin tel:64-3-4797739 NEW ZEALAND fax:64-3-4798427

Of course who shall lead the Faithful is the wedge between Sunni and Shiite Moslems. Ali or the Caliphate...

And two observations from Roland:

Chomping Chomsky 

and Our Best and Brightest: 









This week:



Saturday, December 22







This week:


read book now


Sunday, December 23

Merry Christmas






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