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Mail 230 November 4 - 10, 2002






BOOK Reviews

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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 and address you didn't want on the letter. Do us both a favor: sign your letters to me with the name and address (or no address) as you want them 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. 

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Monday  November 4, 2002

Mr. Pournelle: I read your colum on line every chance I get. Used to read it in hard print when BYTE was still sent to me on paper.

Every once in a while I learn something from your comments but even if I don't, I still enjoy reading it.

Thought you might be interested in knowing that Word will NOT display any fonts unless you have a printer defined. I know this rarely happens but I had purchased a new computer but didn't have a printer connected to it so, no printer definition was ever plugged in.

When I transferred a file to Office 2000 from Word 97 (on a machine with a printer definition) and brought it up, the font looked "funny". I then discovered that I couldn't find any fonts in Word 2000. My local expert and I went over everything we could think of and finally I remembered that I'd never defined a printer. Once I did, fonts showed up as they should.

Keep writing the good stuff.

Tom Irvin

Thanks! I had not run into that. Must have something to do with TrueType? Doubtless a reader will know. One thing about this place, someone who reads here knows almost anything you can imagine.

If you're using Norton Internet Security 2003, you need to read this article. 

Apparently, under some conditions, NIS 2003 can delete your email permanently. Symantec is working on a fix that they plan to deliver via LiveUpdate later this week, but in the interim if you value your email it might be a good idea to disable NIS and retrieve your mail with a POP client (like Mozilla Mail) that isn't subject to Outlook viruses.

-- Robert Bruce Thompson 

Actually I have lost nothing I value....  I think I will wait for the update.



Welfare Islands:

Long, written at a level you'll appreciate, this picture of the housing projects the French have built and quasi-maintain, the intersection of policies that leave their young little chance of employment, etc., etc. leapt out at me as an "in progress" example of your Welfare Islands.

The Barbarians at the Gates of Paris by Theodore Dalrymple 

- Harold

The work he refers to is The Prince, which describes a world CoDominium between USA and USSR. Think Russia and it can still happen.

Subject: Fatwah on dogs

If this Iranian nutball gets to rule the world having Sable in your household could spell your doom.

Eric Pobirs

Ye flipping gods.



Can we reasonably expect to NASA to ever develop an SSTO plan that works? Not in the foreseeable future. I believe that this is due to limited funding. ;)

I continually hear about how in the good old days things got done, we moved forward etc. People claim that it was due to national drive and having a goal. I think that it was actually based on what we spent the money we had on. More to the point focusing the money.

Here's my analogy: a shotgun shell = my funding, put the target downrange 100 meters the distance is equal to the time frame that we are working with. Now shoot the shotgun at the target, of course if you hit it at all it is only with a few tiny pellets. Now replace that birdshot with a slug. Fire away, now we see some results!! Granted, it may take practice and the hits may not be dead center but the target will be killed.

Okay onward, the birdshot is NASA as it stands now, doling out funding to it seems every project that can reach the phone. In the end the goal is sacrificed in favor of learning a little bit about all kinds of things rather than lots about one thing.

My quick draw fix for this is obviously cut the funding for some programs; my pick would be pretty much anything that doesn't add to the finished product. (SSTO)

Here's my reasoning, in the old days every missile that was launched was going to be launched if it had a payload or not since the whole point was to prove concepts on the rockets and gain launch operations experience. Hence it made sense (cents) to put an EXPIREMENTAL and EXPENDABLE satellite on the end of it. But then everyone got used to boosting his or her favorite pet project. Next thing you know its not a privilege its a requirement that NASA lifts everything.

Okay, now it sounds like I'm anti science. Thatís not the case but it would fix some problems with the system. IF a project is so valuable that research has to be done, get the universities to pool their resources and fund it or the military. It just plain costs too much to boost pure science. (Looking for dark matter etc, honestly if this is done right what does it matter if you have to wait 5-10 years for cheaper boosters to get your science done)

Now here is my next option.

If NASA doesn't want to do the old axe number on some of its programs, then take some away. I would take anything dealing with technology research out of their coffers and leave them with just the money pits (ISS, Operation look at earth, etc). Then ship the cash that was suddenly available to one of the smaller aerospace corporations to dole out as they see fit. My pick would be Scaled Composites. Talk about X projects, they've been doing them for the past 20 years. They are involved in the X-prize race and haven't been making a fuss about it. I only choose them since they have a proven history of developing innovative equipment that actually works in reality not just on paper.

The reality is that you could pick any number of the X-prize teams and most likely they would be able develop something useable in a relatively short time.

And then you launch all of these pure science satellites at a lower cost. So they get their data later, but at a much better price, heck now you can afford to boost the next satellite to refine/validate their findings.

Anyway, thatís my rant. Use it as an example of the younger generations foibles, etc.

Kyle Eberhart 

Dan Goldin was a good man and he couldn't fix NASA.  NASA has two projects: Shuttle exists to service Space Station. Space Station exists to provide missions for Shuttle. On these two hang all the law and the profits.

We need X projects, and we need them badly. 

So saith Le Grande Strumpf

And a reader question

Hi Jerry,

The new dog is so cute.

I have a quick question and wasting time on the MS site and news groups is driving me nuts. I just bought a new hard drive. I want to transfer the system to the new drive and dump the old drive that is very quickly trying to die. How can this be done with Windows XP Home?

If you could just direct me to a web site with the info, that would be great.


Randy Powell

I would use Norton Ghost, myself.

And from Daniel Dern

(My apologies if I already posted about this.)

It's now been just over a year since my job at CMP went away.

At the time, I wrote what I thought was a reasonable farewell editorial,

but it was never run (despite promises to the contrary).

So, very belatedly, I've posted it to my site,

at < >.

I've also got thoughts on "stuff I had wanted to do while there,"

mebbe I'll get around to writing that up RSN (real soon now).

DPD, still freelancin' (that's both the good and bad news)



Daniel Dern - Freelance technology writer

ddern at world{dot}std{dot}com or <>

"Care & Feeding" columnist,

Comic book columnist,

It's a good farewell. Don't know why they didn't run it.

I don't know how long the link will last, but Peggy Noonans column for Friday 11/1 is an absolute MUST READ.

Everyone with any interest in politics at all should read this. Probably best to read it three or four times... 

(Now best to use: )


Gary R. Utter

Agreed. She can write, and this is good even for her.





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Tuesday,  November 5, 2002

Some mail you just love to get...



Iíve subscribed for several years now, and I read your site just about every day. Love it, love the books, love the column on But, I can never seem to keep track of when I subscribed, so I tend to renew when it ďfeels likeĒ itís been a year or so. It would be easier for me (and probably others) if you could remind us when that year is up. I realize that setting up a subscriber database may be a bit of a pain, but itís easy enough to drag an Outlook custom view into Excel and from there go to Access (assuming your subscriber list exists primarily as an Outlook folder).


Believe me, never in my life did I ever think I would be asking to get subscription reminders, but your site is no ordinary periodical.


Also, please post more puppy photos.


Regards, Carl ______________________________ Carl Leubsdorf, Jr.

Yes, I have thought of setting up a data base, and perhaps. But for now, I guess I have to let people's consciences nag them... And I have more puppy pictures... later today I hope.

Dr. Pournelle,

"I want to transfer the system to the new drive and dump the old drive that is very quickly trying to die."

Hmmm. As I understand it, XP gets picky with transfers like this, something to do with hardware identified in the system registry. This is what I might try: Make a Files and Settings Transfer Wizard disk. Make a folder on the old hard disk, and put all the files in it. Install XP on the new disk, and activate over the phone because of a "system crash". Put the old hard disk in and then use the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard disk to install the old settings back on to the new drive from the folder. It's a lot of work. However, Ghost should work as long as the replacement hard drive is the ONLY hardware change taking place. XP is supposed to be forgiving of minor hardware changes as long as there is only one or two. But, if I were dumping an old system in favour of a new one, the above procedure should work. I'll test it out one day.


Semper Fi George A. Laiacona III <> Happy Guy Fawkes Day! Gunpowder Plot: Nov. 5, 1605, Guy Fawkes placed gunpowder kegs under the Parliament building in an attempt to blow up Parliament and King James I.

As I said earlier, I'd use Norton Ghost for this job. One of these days I have to try it myself. Partition Magic also works to create a new drive and transfer everything in an image to it, then make that the boot drive.  XP hasn't complained about doing it that way.

Subject: Farewell Galileo

Your journey was long and fraught with challenges and peril but in the end you triumphed and showed us great things. You will be missed. 

-Dan S.


And an important question:

Dear Mr Pournelle,

I have been reading your column for years and we have exchanged mails a couple of times.

I shouldn't be bothering you with this sort of question but the people who ought to provide an answer don't.

If you copy and paste from a .pdf into a Word document you will find that two sorts of carriage return appear: the first category Word will find with a search on ^p; the second category it cannot see, even if it displays them the same as the others. with .pdf files becoming increasingly common as a means of shunting stuff around the place, it would be incredibly useful to find out how to eliminate these extraneous characters.

The people at Wordscan claim in their publicity to have mastered pdf to doc conversions but did not take the trouble to attempt to answer my question.

Thank you in advance if you or anyone in your network can provide any guidance.


Harry Forster


Harry Forster - Interrelate 2, rue Saint Laurent, 38000 Grenoble, France Tel.: +33 (0)4 76 51 00 11 - Fax: +33 (0)4 76 44 87 71

technical and commercial translation traductions techniques et commerciales

I recall I managed to solve it once; I think I used ASCII numerical values, which I made Word accept as something to scan for. But it has been a while and I don't have time to experiment today. If someone knows off hand I'd appreciate a note on how to do it, else I'll get at it later this week. It's a good question.

And Joel Rosenberg says

The problem, if I remember correctly, is that Word uses the LF/CR combination, but recognizes both LFs and CRs for formatting purposes. Several of the de-wording applications that run under Linux recognize and correct it, so I'm told -- but the simple way is to download, install, and use, which imports things properly and can save things in a standardized Word format (for those who really need Word, or, like you, prefer it) which is what I did when Ray Feist and I were collaborating on Murder in LaMut.



Open Office is certainly getting good enough. Thanks.

And the History Lesson:

Dr. Pournelle,

Harry Forster asked about searching for two types of return characters in text copied from a PDF file into Word. You mentioned using ASCII numerical values. In general, Windows programs accept most ASCII characters not available on the keyboard by holding down the ALT key and typing the four digit code of the character on the numerical keypad. This code can be found in the Character Map program included in Windows. Character Map does not have the nonprinting ASCII characters such as BELL and the CR/LF characters.

Microsoft's Support Knowledge base also says that you can search for Unicode values in Word by typing ^uNNNNN in the search text box. ^u is the control code, and NNNNN is the five-digit Unicode value of the character to search for.

For those who aren't aware, Unicode has the ASCII characters as well as character sets used in other languages. This allows Unicode to be used in multiple countries, and Microsoft is integrating Unicode into Windows. The spurious return character may be Unicode, not ASCII.

To continue the history refresher, the CR (carriage return) character has an ASCII code of 0013. LF is the linefeed character, which is often paired with CR when the return key is pressed; its code is 0010. This behavior dates back from teletype days, when both CR and LF were used to advance to the next line, so it may be possible that PDF is using CR/LF codes where Word may be using the Unicode Return character. I should say that Unicode has most ASCII characters; I doubt that Unicode incorporates the nonprinting characters left over from teletypewriters.

I hope this helps.

Bruce Jones

That's it I am sure. THANKS!!




Now for a WOW:

From: Stephen M. St. Onge

Date: Nov. 5th, 2002

subject: Star Wars progress

Dear Jerry:

According to , the Army just destroyed an artillery shell. In flight. With a laser. A mobile laser.

Best, Stephen


Roland also points to 

I knew that technology was coming along, but WOW!

From: Stephen M. St. Onge


subject: Peggy Noonan's column for Nov. 1st

Dear Jerry:

The link Mr. Utter sent is no longer good (it will always bring up Noonan's latest WSJ column, and she's written another since last Friday), but this should be good for months, at least: 

Meanwhile, the head of the DNC is denying reports that he and his minions planned the rally-disguised-as-a-memorial (  ,  for Nov. 03, 2002). Imao, that little stunt is going to go down in history as one the greatest campaign blunders of all time.

As a Minnesota Republican, I gotta love it.

Best, Stephen


Well, it will if it didn't work; we'll have to see. 

From: Stephen M. St. Onge

Date: Nov. 5th, 2002

subject: The House, the CIA, and the Republic

Dear Jerry:

I went and looked at the Constitution today, particularly Article I, Section1.3. The House as originally designed had 65 members for less than 4 million inhabitants. In proportion to today's population, that would be about 4550 members, not 435.

Now, if we could multiply the House membership by a factor of ten, while cutting their pay 90% -- BE STILL, MY BEATING HEART! There's a reform that would go a long way to restoring the kind of govt. we both want. I think it'd be a lot harder to gerrymander 4350 districts into safe seats, and a lot easier for grass roots campaigns to overcome incumbents in primaries. And with their pay cut that much, Congress would become a part-time activity of citizens again, instead of a career.

Meanwhile, nice work by the CIA. I have to say that, imao, the early CIA was a huge threat to the Republic. Not because Allen Dulles was likely to sponsor a coup, or anything like that. Because Eisenhower and Kennedy used it to conduct a secret foreign policy. While obviously one can't run covert operations overtly, a govt. responsible to the electorate should be outlining in general terms what it's covert agencies are doing:

'We're spying on every country except a few we consider especially friendly.'

'We assassinate foreigners that are members of terrorist groups that wish to harm the United States. There are sometimes reasons for mercy, or delay, but our general policy is to make them dead.'

In this case, their comment should be:

'No comment, but it's certainly the kind of thing we will do whenever we get the chance.'

Best, Stephen


The Company did a number of things in the Cold War that were not good for the republic; but as Justice Jackson observed once, the Constitution isn't a suicide pact. I supported a lot of activities when there were 26,000 nuclear warheads targeted on us that I would normally deplore.

Eisenhower had the Company assassinate 10 for one over the RB-47 incident. The USSR got that particular message, and such incidents became very rare after that.

But the Yemen action was in keeping with the Barbary War. It is a declared war against gangs that aren't formally states.  And TR made it pretty clear in the Perdicardis affair...

Regarding the House, a system of part time representatives with a full time Senate is pretty close to what the Framers had in mind. I see no reason we couldn't implement it. The notion of electing someone you actually know sounds bizarre today, but it wasn't always thus.

From Roland

Subject: Dinosaur killers.


-- ------------------------------------------------------------ Roland Dobbins

It sure would be nice if we had the tools to make sure that don't happen again...





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Wednesday, November 6, 2002

From Paul Chisholm:

Your latest (October 21, 2002) Byte column talks about your intent to set up "transparent caching," as if that was optimal. It's not, necessarily.

The goal is to have your HTTP traffic (web browsers and such) go through a caching proxy, so when some software on your LAN tries to access, for example:  you won't need to go out over your iDSL line to retrieve it, if your proxy has already seen and cached it.

There are two ways to do this. Either way, you set up a caching proxy. Then, either you tell all the systems on your LAN to use the proxy, or you tell your router to redirect all HTTP requests to the ("transparent") proxy.

The disadvantage of a transparent proxy is, browsers work better with a proxy when they know they're working with a proxy. O'Reilly has a whole book on this general subject (Duane Wessels, WEB CACHING):  and a whole chapter, posted online, about transparent proxies in particular: 

The advantage of a transparent proxy is, everything on the LAN is forced to use it. You can still work towards that: set your router so *only* the proxy can get out on port 80. That way, you'll still have to administer all your browsers, but at least none of them will bypass the proxy.

Hope this helps. --PSRC

I intended this for the column and it will probably get there, but I also want it here.  This is a subject I intend to get further into. Meanwhile the O'Reilly book is certainly worth getting.

And the latest in the OS Wars:

This is important 

This is important. Please read it all so that you get the proper context . . . the bottom line is that Microsoft are running scared. 

------------------------------- Roland Dobbins

Note that we have long been concerned with these matters, and there was a considerable debate when the first Halloween papers came out. I had a stronger view in those days. I also wrote The Second Computer Revolution, which is still relevant. This was followed by some responses that are also relevant. 

I suspect that the new Halloween Papers and analysis will trigger more debate, and I'll probably start a new page that consolidates all that. Meanwhile, I agree that this is important, and worth your time if you're at all concerned about the future of the computer revolution.

Dear Jerry, 

I'd like to point you in the direction of this story: 

The editors note probably sums it up the best: "To the extent that people read it and gain some insight into what Microsoft is actually thinking about Linux and Open Source Software, it's useful. To the extent that anyone draws a conclusion from this document like "we've got Microsoft on the run", that's just idiotic."

You should read the comments, which is always a good thing on Slashdot (if you're familiar with the site.)

There are some choice comments that deserve attention:  " I really think this is what MS staffers do for fun at the Halloween party! They probably draw straws, and the one to draw the shortest one has to write up the "leaked strategy memo on Linux" for the year!"  " Well, MS admitted that one was real, but I agree that this may simply be something they do to pull the wool over Eric & Company. Strategy documents at HP were appreciably longer than two pages. Also, I got to see some MS strategy (under NDA to HP so you won't hear about it as much as I'd like to tell) and it didn't look like this.

Bruce"  "Read  for a little info on this. Yes, it may be a fake, but it may not."

And maybe most importantly:  " While this might be a document produced by one of the thousands of MS minions, by no means is this the MS linux strategy document. Anyone who thinks so is incredible foolish.

The MS Linux strategy document is probably 1000 pages and is divided into three huge camps:

1. enterprise server market (.net)
2. department server market (win2k server)
3. desktop OS

They are probably closely looking into the latest desktop Linux distros from red hat and ximian and shitting their pants.

They are still trying to figure out how to roll out .net.

They are maintaining share in the department server market, but are aware that the eventual TOC issue is going to hand them their lunch soon.

A company with 40 billion in cash and a 20 billion/year business doesn't write 2 page strategy documents."


We went through all this a few years ago.

Microsoft probably has some pointy hair bosses, but the people who actually do the work aren't like that, and don't have time for a lot of this stuff. I presume there are some corporate strategy people who do, but how much influence they have isn't known to me either.

Continued below.



And if that weren't heavy enough,

From: Stephen M. St. Onge

Date: Nov. 5th, 2002

subject: International Law

Dear Jerry:

A short article you might find interesting, on why international law is different from intra-national law. 

Best, Stephen


I ought to write my own article on International Law which is, as this points out, quite different from the positive law of either the Code Napoleon or English Common Law as modified by legislation. It is also enforced quite differently.

The term International Law is generally a misnomer. The Framers did refer to the "Law of Nations"; there was also Admiralty Law which was important in those days. In both cases, again, what is referred to is quite different from an Act of Congress; and today "International Law" is as much a political bugaboo as a term with a real referent.

When I was in graduate school we studied International Law, and since the professor took it seriously so did we; but at the end of the day, we find that "What pleases the prince shall have the force of law," applies very much so in the realm of "International Law". In the heyday of International Law there were a number of Great Powers (including a couple that were Great Powers only by courtesy) who were treated quite differently from all the other powers; and if there was a balance of power among those, it was often convenient to have mechanisms for settling disputes without war or threat of war. International Law complete with wigs and robes was probably most important then. 

The League of Nations and then the UN attempted to make this system more pervasive, but even in the UN there are Great Powers. Today there is only one Great Power, and International Law is mostly a means of putting a primary hamper on actions of the United States: there is no power or combination of powers that can enforce "law" on the US without consent of the President of the United States. In that sense he is the prince, and we have a new International System that would have astonished Justinian...

Hi Jerry,

Regarding Microsoft and Linux, it appears that not only are they afraid of it but a customer who even mentions the word is "unclean." My experience was interesting in a way, it does make me glad I don't own Microsoft stock.

The small business where I work has a small network, we use NT4 with back office on the server. We have had our own Domain name for 6 or 7 years, our web site is hosted by our ISP but we do our own email via exchange server (dialup connection no less).

I'll readily admit that the whole setup is well out of date, but it works well and we have seen no real need to change until recently. Exchange server 5.0 has a major flaw in that it is an open relay which cannot be fixed. There is no setting or patch that will correct the problem. Until recently our use of a dialup connection with a short connect time has done a pretty good job of preventing use of the relay.

Recently we have been emailing larger files to some customers keeping us on line for longer periods, as a result we have been "found" and are now apparently on spammer open relay lists.

I contacted Microsoft in an attempt to determine the best upgrade to allow us to close the open relay, a number of people have told me Exchange server 5.5 should be all that is needed. The response I got was interesting.

I explained the problem and what I wanted to do, the conversation went something like

MS "Why do you want to upgrade 5.0? that's old!." 

Me "Yes its old and also defective that's why I want to upgrade it. I understand 5.5 corrects the problem, how do I buy that?"

 MS "You can't buy 5.5 it's obsolete. You need to buy exchange server 2000, would you like to order that?"

 Me "I didn't think that would work with NT4 and back office, will it?" 

MS "Oh no it won't you'll need to but 2000 server too." 

Me "This sounds like its getting expensive, I think I'm looking at $3000 to $4000. Is there an upgrade path at a lower cost? 

MS "No, there's no upgrade policy for products that old." 

Me "Will server 2000 run on our current server?" (describe system) 

MS "Oh No, that's too old."

 Me "(sounding somewhat unhappy) So I need to buy all new software and all new hardware to fix a system that works perfectly except one piece of defective software, is that right?" 

MS "Well yes, that's the policy." 

Me "No wonder people are going to Linux! What is the least expensive Microsoft solution I can buy to fix this problem?" 

MS "Well if you want to run Linux go right ahead! CLICK

So I guess I can assume that if a customer even mentions Linux, Microsoft will refuse to take your money! I do know that if our company had this kind of attitude we would be out of business in 6 months or so. Apparently if you are big enough you really can have the attitude "We don't care, we don't HAVE to care we're Microsoft" (with apologies to Ernestine the operator)

As you would expect I'm now REALLY interested in buying from Microsoft.


Fascinating. I'll wait to hear from Microsoft on this. I make no doubt someone from Redmond is reading this...

I'm sure Mr. Dobbins will argue, but can a company who has enjoyed a 12% growth in revenues ($28.37B) and a 6% growth in Net Income ($7.83B) actually be construed as running scared? Figures are from the 2nd Quarter Financials provided on MS's web site.

Amazing that the OSS movement claims massive amounts of people switching from Microsoft for Linux or Unix or even Apple/Unix. Then I add up the revenue columns and gasp as the huge amounts of money earned by Microsoft. Is my memory failing or did I not hear the Linux gurus claiming that by 2003 Microsoft would be a fringe player? I don't think fringe players earn over 7 billion dollars in six months.

Bill Grigg

PS Sable is one heck of a beautiful dog!

At the moment I'm just letting everyone else talk...









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Thursday, November 7, 2002


Pardon my language - I was enraged:

You might want to visit this douchebag's website <> and let him know how you feel about him: It seems that Robert Kurpiel, an Air Force Academy cadet, sent an inoffensive e-mail seeking help in making college students around the country aware of the annual Academy Assembly, which discusses "very important issues dealing with politics." One Peter Kirstein, a professor of history at SXU, received a copy of the message and went ballistic, sending the cadet the following reply:

You are a disgrace to this country and I am furious you would even think I would support you and your aggressive baby killing tactics of collateral damage. Help you recruit. Who, top guns to reign death and destruction upon nonwhite peoples throughout the world? Are you serious sir? Resign your commission and serve your country with honour.

No war, no air force cowards who bomb countries with AAA, without possibility of retaliation. You are worse than the snipers. You are imperialists who are turning the whole damn world against us. September 11 can be blamed in part for what you and your cohorts have done to Palestinians, the VC, the Serbs, a retreating army at Basra.

You are unworthy of my support. ...this is the e-mail I sent to this roach, with a cc to the President of the University... "Mr. Kirstein,

After reading about your recent antics regarding a request for assistance from an Air Force cadet, I just thought I'd drop you a line and express the degree of contempt I feel for you and your cartoonishly Marxist and anti-American views. I find it a shame that you enjoy a lifestyle unattainable by 99% of the planet, a lifestyle made possible by the sacrifice of those American military veterans you despise.

I would also like to express my sincere concern for the welfare of the students subjected to your hatred toward America. I strongly encourage you to abandon teaching before you ruin more of those impressionable lives wrongfully entrusted into your hands.

But I will take it as a given that you lack the moral courage to resign your position and the comforts it provides you, and lead by action by moving to an area where you can share the community of your oppressed soul-mates.

That being the case, please do us all a favor. Shut up. ...some e-mail addresses:

Robert Kurpiel:

Richard Yanikoski President, Saint Xavier University ...the President of the University has set up an autoresponse on his e-mail: "You have reached the email account of Dr. Richard Yanikoski, president of Saint Xavier University.

I regret having to resort to an automated response but the extraordinarily volume of email from military men and women around the world has made it impossible for me to respond to each person individually, as I have done during the past 5 days. PLEASE BE ASSURED THAT I WILL READ EVERY MESSAGE FULLY AND CAREFULLY. Click on this link for a status report:" ...Mr. President, please fire the miserable bastard...

Don McArthur *************************************** "A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin." H.L. Mencken *************************************** 

Good grief! I suppose nothing should surprise me, but I really thought that old line Liberalism was rare.









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Rain, puppy, and a spam/virus attack ate the day. Plus the column of course.







This week:


read book now


Saturday, November 9, 2002

Short shrift, of course.


i am a big fan of your stories - i read them again and again ( i just ordered "The Moat Around Murcheson's Eye" in american, because the german translation was horrible ).

I also like Computer Space-Strategy-Games and there will be a new game called "Imperium Galactica 3" which plays in a way i always imagined the space battles in your stories.

The ships move relatively slowly in a full 3D environment ( acceleration and deceleration included ) and the weapons work in a way you could agree with ( well - somehow, it's only a game ).

I hope someday there will be a game with the name "CoDominium" with stories out of your universe.

Andreas Reichl (Germany)

Sound great. MOO -- Master of Orion -- was one of my long time all time favorites. MOO II wasn't as good.  I'd love a good space strategy game and I much prefer turn based...

Subject: You can have my money when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Courtesy of the RIAA, BMI and The Register:

I find myself increadibly compelled to never buy a music CD again and to only go to live performances to support musicans I like and enjoy.

This war over IP has gotten totally ricoculous.

I want my rights as a consumer back!

I want my right to not be treated as a theif and stupid consumer who will gladly accept whatever screwed up scheme the RIAA and music cartels have concocted this day or the next!

This just steams me to no end.

-Dan S.

A lot of people seem to feel this way. I generally only buy classical music so I am not much affected; but money ought to flow to the artists...

Dear Jerry,

The successful test of the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser is a stellar example of fiction becoming fact. There is a very interesting article titled "Electromagnetic Warfare against Iraq" at  that advances the possibility of directed energy weapons being deployed immediately.

I've always felt that there was a symbiotic relationship between Science Fiction and developments in Science and Technology. These systems would never have existed if writers had not speculated their possibilities.

If you are not aware of the site "Soldiers For The Truth"  you should be. It's a great resource of "the real skinny"; things such as the reality of combat troops fighting in full CBC gear, USMC vs USAF and the meaning of Expeditionary and some funny notes from inside the pentagon.

Cheers, Mark Lad E-mail:

Thanks. Agreed, good source.


Subject: "Three years to get it right"


Note Windows NT was C2 certified in a non-networked configuration. See also

for some comments on current operating system security problems. I understand most of the Windows vulnerabilities can be traced to a desire to pull an end-run on the DoJ settlement by incorporating applications functionality into the operating system.

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




A great use of the internet! 

Mark Chatinsky 

This electronic mail is intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed, and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under applicable law. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this electronic mail is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to the electronic mail address listed above. Thank you.

Am I going to jail for posting this?

Using that with Mozilla trying to be my default browser was interesting. It worked, but it took a while, including telling me it was putting an installation icon on the desk top when what it really did was save a file I have to execute.  And other stuff like that.  I expect I'll learn how to do these things.

I am not sure I have not already posted the following but it's important:

Hi Jerry:

Ran across a paper that discusses Pareto's cyclic social change theory through the circulation of elites between "lions" and "foxes." A modern paper, that embeds the discussion in a "post-modern" analysis that seems (it's not awfully accessible to me) to be saying that Newton's Laws of Motion "apply" to "social forces." Anyway, thought you might be interested in taking a look. The detailed Pareto discussion is found about 2/3 of the way through; search on "Vilfredo Pareto." 

--Mike Juergens

The best exposition of Pareto is Pareto. The next best is Burnham's The Macciavellians. 

Sable is utterly gorgeous. Love the pictures. The following was forwarded to me, you might have seen it. I don't know who wrote it, but it's worth reading, especially for you Americans: "I think the vast differences in compensation between the victims of the September 11th casualty, and those who die serving the country in uniform, are profound. No one is really talking about it either because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11th. Well, I just can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11th attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million. If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable. Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt. Keep in mind that some of the people that are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11th families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well. You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over fifty years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time when a pay raise comes up for the military they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low rent housing. However our own U.S. Congress just voted themselves a raise, and many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one-time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month and most are now equal to be millionaires plus. They also do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system. If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7 you may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed you in harms way receive a pension of $15,000 per month. I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting. "When do we finally do something about this ??" If this doesn't seem fair to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can. " Regards Gaynour

I'm sure. I actually read that, but whatever format you sent it in doesn't preserve any paragraphing and I don't have time to reformat. Sorry. I am not sure why civilians in a war time incident are to be compensated: were the families of victims at Pearl Harbor paid in public money?  Clearly charities can pay anyone they like.

Mr. Heinlein described a society in which only veterans can vote in STARSHIP TROOPERS. Still a good read. Don't bother with the movie.


Dr. Pournelle,

Regarding the proposal to multiply the number of US House seats by a factor of ten, while cutting pay by 90%, I don't think this would have the effect the author intended. Here in Texas, our legislature meets every two years during the spring and summer for about five months. They are paid around $7,500 plus a per diem for their service.

The question that should spring to mind is just who the heck can afford to spend 5 months every two years living away from home? No one with a family to support, certainly, or a career they value. The people who end up running for these seats fall into three categories: the wealthy, who don't need a day job, the greedy, who can make a fortune as "consultants" the other nineteen months of the time, or (in theory) a person whose minimum-wage job wouldn't pay more than $7,500 anyway, and who sure would like to land one of those "consultant" gigs. So, if it is the wealthy elite or the corrupt we want in power, fine, this actually approaches what the Founders had in mind anyway. But if you're after a means of bringing the everyman in the fray, forget it. You'd be better off filling the 435 house seats via a lottery of all registered voters.

Keith Corell

There is a long history of debate on paid public officials, including both executives and  legislators. The worst thing Los Angeles ever did was make the City Council a paid full time job, and thus insulate those already insensitive clods from the consequences of their decisions.

The notion of an unpaid Congress is that few will make a career of it, and they must make a living under the laws they have passed...

If you are not careful of course it turns into dominance by staff -- but then it's a lot that way anyway.  

Could it be worse to have an enormous Congress that isn't paid?

What if you walked into a polling place to vote, and all you had was a list of candidates, with no information provided -- not even party affiliation? Would you call your vote meaningful, or a meaningless shot in the dark? What if all you knew about any ballot propositions was the number? Would you vote fore any of them?

We have that situation in the judicial "races".

The ballot presents a list of candiates, and we're expected to vote "yes" or "no" on each of them.

Have you ever tried to find out about these judges? You can look up a legislator's voting record. You can research an executive's history. Where do you research a judge? I asked a judge once, and his suggestion was that I sit in on his courtroom procedings. (!!??) Of course. In my copious spare time.

I've recently heard a suggestion that resonates with me -- "If I don't know, I vote no."

The person who suggested this has a touchstone by which he judges whether actions are good or evil -- he asks himself, "What if everyone did it?" Well, if everyone followed that suggestion on judicial "races", only those judges who made information about themselves available would be elected. Everyone else would be voted down. Who knows? Maybe someone would get a clue, and start making sure information about judges was available to the unwashed masses.

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

The theory on judicial elections is that if someone is scandalously out of touch you can get rid of yeye, and otherwise the position is pretty well for life. Los Angeles has removed about half a dozen judges including Gitelman who was bussing half the kids in the county...





This week:


read book now


Sunday, November 10, 2002

The New York Times is Corroborating your statement!

>The main lesson from this election is interesting: TV advertising >has saturated the system, and produced what amounts to national >stalemate. For the first time in a long time, old fashioned precinct >party political work may have been decisive. Those of you who have >Heinlein's TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT should get it out and read it >again. Those who don't, last time I heard Baen had a ton of them in >a warehouse. If he doesn't, work on him to get it out at least in a >Print on Demand edition.

-- Martin Happy Web and Macintosh Developer For all your Web design and hosting -

Hmm. If the Times agrees with me, I had better rethink my position...  Actually, it was pretty obvious.  But the Times won't want to go the rest of the way. Taking back our government is possible, but then our masters would have no servants to order about.


I had a Linux partition and a Win XP partition co-existing on a 350 MHz PII. I just split them into two systems (new box for the Win XP!), but didn't want two monitors etc on my desktop.

I picked up a Belkin Omniview 4-port video/keyboard/mouse switch, and a set of Manhattan shielded cables to connect the two boxes to the switch. Absolutely flawless, no ghosting, crystal clear. Very pleased, and it is fun to switch between O/Ss on the fly.

Don McArthur

Thanks. An interesting concept and perhaps I will try that.

In a letter to you, Wayne (last name not specified) said his company wishes an inexpensive upgrade to Exchange 5.0 that will secure it.

It seems to me that the easiest solution for Wayne's company in the near term would be to set up an extra computer, with Linux on it, as an email gateway. The Exchange server would never talk to the outside world, only to the gateway; and it is very, very easy to lock down a Linux email server so that it won't work as a spam relay. The Linux email server would receive mail and hand it off to the Exchange 5.0 server.

Since email will be dead while the gateway is down, Wayne's company should use a reliable computer to run this... but it doesn't have to be a *new* reliable computer; I know a small company whose mail server is a Pentium 133 running Linux. (And that's not just for forwarding mail; the users connect to that server too.)

I use, and I am very happy with, an email server called Exim. I run Debian GNU/Linux with Exim for my email server. But probably the best bet for Wayne and his company would be to buy a copy of Red Hat Linux (with phone support) and set up whatever mail server Red Hat defaults to.

Microsoft doesn't want to sell any more NT4 licenses. Wayne's company can set up Linux file and print servers, and even email servers, over the medium to long term. Of course I suggest setting up new servers and gradually migrating things over to them, as opposed to a risky giant leap forward to Linux.

P.S. I doubt the person who hung up the phone on Wayne was acting under official Microsoft policy, and in fact he would probably be reprimanded for treating a customer that way. -- Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"

Indeed. Thanks. Actually I suspect being that rude is a firing offence.

I read Wayne's tale with interest, and also another reader's reply.

As usual, yes, Linux could be The Answer, but it may not serve Wayne's purpose; he wants to be rid of a specific problem, not start over.

On re-examining the problem, he may find that it is others on the same dial up service who are to blame for the relaying and subsequent blacklisting, and that the upgrade is a red herring, based merely on him using the same dial up block, ISP, or Telco.

For fixing up his relay problem he has multiple avenues:

- Fix the software (upgrade to Exchange 5.5; buy 2000 and "downgrade" by finding a 5.5 distribution and serial number; I once had to do this for Microsoft SQL and doing it properly required an easily obtainable rubberstamped letter from one of their legal departments)

- Put a filter in between Exchange 5.0 and the Internet on the same hardware (e.g. Trend Micro Virus Wall, which understands relay restrictions)

- A software firewall can be installed and told to not listen for inbound SMTP unless it's from the ISP (from his description, I suspect he is doing "store and forward".

- Have another computer or device do the dialing and secure mail relay; Linux et al. do not have the (ahem) market cornered on free. I highly recommend Mercury from which is Win32 based, free, easy, feature packed, excellent, and it is easy to reward the author for his labours.

In creating my suggestions, I have assumed that Wayne would prefer a quick solution that is narrow enough in scope that he won't fear for supporting it later, and that won't at all affect the software clients or the users on his current system.

On a related note, Jerry, when will we hear of a server based e-mail solution at Chaos Manor, complete with the latest gee-whiz antivirus and antispam measures?


Andrew Colbeck

When I get settled in with my new 144K iDSL and am confident of it, I'll build new servers, and set things up to do my own mail service and spam assassin or some other Bayesian system.  I'm gathering information on this now.


In fact, suggestions welcomed from all readers. I'll make that appeal again next week. What should I be running for mail service?  I need to be able to collect mail from several accounts at different services.  Filter it, including my wife's mail. And such like.

 Clearly I have some ideas, but I welcome suggestions.





From: William Callen

Thought you would find this interesting.

-------------------- St. Xavier apologizes over e-mail --------------------

Professor called Air Force cadet `disgrace' to U.S.

By Crystal Yednak Tribune staff reporter

November 10, 2002

St. Xavier University has issued an apology after one of its professors sent an e-mail to a U.S. Air Force Academy cadet describing him as a "disgrace to this country."

The e-mail message was widely forwarded, prompting military members and supporters to flood the Southwest Side university's mailbox with protests.

The cadet had contacted Peter N. Kirstein by e-mail, looking for ideas on how to best advertise an academic forum being planned by the academy.

In his reply Oct. 31, the professor wrote: "I am furious you would even think I would support you and your aggressive baby-killing tactics."

His response was widely disseminated through military Web sites and networks, prompting hundreds of e-mails to the university.

Kirstein, who has taught at St. Xavier for 28 years, declined to comment Saturday and referred questions to university officials.

He also has issued an apology to the cadet, according to a letter posted on a university Web site.

"I did not mean to impugn his character," Kirstein wrote to the academy instructor in charge of the forum. "I should have written him in a more thoughtful and contemplative manner."



The real question is what does the University think a man capable of writing that letter has to teach? It won't be manners, or intellectual debating skills, or consistency. Senility?







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