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Mail 231 November 11 - 17, 2002 






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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).

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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 11, 2002

Armistice Day

Armistice Day. 

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

From: Stephen M. St. Onge

Date: Armistice Day Eve, 2002

subject: The prof vs. the cadet

Dear Jerry:

I'm not surprised Prof. Kirstein backed down, but I am mightily amused that he wrote "I did not mean to impugn his character . . . I should have written him in a more thoughtful and contemplative manner."

Who does he think he's fooling? "You are a disgrace to this country . . . your aggressive baby killing tactics . . . reign death and destruction upon nonwhite peoples throughout the world . . .Resign your commission and serve your country with honour. ". . . air force cowards . . . You are worse than the snipers." If that is not intended to impugn Cadet Kurpiel's character, Prof. Kirstein should be suspended until he learns the English language.

Interesting, though, that the coward should be forced to back down so quickly and easily. The web's ability to speed communications is having effects I certainly never foresaw.

Best, Stephen

I continue to wonder what it is that he teaches. I know pacifists; he doesn't sound like one of them.

One wonders what the new Minority Leader in the House would say to any of this.

Subject: New Halloween Papers hit CNN.

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


Subject: Torture a spammer?

While it may not get rid of SPAM, it is a slightly amusing diversion from it: 

Rob Madison


Subject: Good Q&A on the settlement.

 ------------------ Roland Dobbins


Subject: "Smart" Paint

Nanotech in the Military - sooner than you may think!

Charles Butler


This looks intriguing, and I probably ought to install it:

Dear Jerry,

My brother just pointed me to a fun way to deal with spammers: 

Spam-X is a very unique and effective proactive approach to spammers. Not only does it act as a spambot tarpit by trapping a spambot into requesting page after page of random, fake email addresses, it also acts as though it were on a very slow link by taking a full minute to send each page of sixty random mailto: links. It outputs extremely minimal HTML in an effort to minimize its bandwidth impact, while at the same time allowing you to flood a visiting spambot's database with thousands of worthless email addresses and consume a great deal of the spambot's time. Placing a small or hidden link to the Spam-X script above any valid mailto: links on your site will hopefully trap the visiting spambot and prevent it from actually harvesting your valid email addresses.


Gordon Runkle

-- "Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." -- Theodore Roosevelt

I will have to look into this. I certainly don't mind wasting a spammer's time.

Dr. Pournelle,

Here is an article about a website posted by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA). The allegation is that the BWEA posted a slide show that included a slide titled "We know where you live" with the names of the BWEA's 7 biggest critics below.


Interesting. Incidentally, Trotsky Lives!

Dr. Pournelle,

Refresh my memory... Is St. Xavier the patron saint of ungrateful sheep?

Not to be intended as a threat, however it does sheep good to remember that the shepherds must occasionally eat, and leg of lamb tastes much better than barbequed wolf. It is also wise to remember that in times of war even sheep get enlisted in the cause, and today's cadets are tomorrow's officers.

A middle-aged man taking out his mid-life crisis on a future officer of the armed forces who ensure his "right" to teach does not seem to be productively using his time, and I feel sorry for any students he betrays by his immature behavior. I hope his students see through his blustering facade, unfortunately such contrarian "great thinkers" at universities are often idolized by their emotionally and intellectually vulnerable students.

I distinctly remember making the decision early in life to not be one of the sheep. It probably had something to do with finding Heinlein in both of my Elementary and High School libraries...

Sean Long (USAFA '94)

Indeed. Thank you.






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Tuesday,  November 12, 2002



Eric "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" Raymond just put up a very interesting piece linking SF and libertarianism- I think you might enjoy reading it:



Thanks. I have more to say about Eric Raymond's view below.


The real question in Operating Systems is why hasn't Apple ported their system to run on Intel hardware. I am sure there is a lot of people would love it. Or has Microsoft bought so much of Apple stock they wont allow it. Steve M

I would bet large sums that Microsoft exercises no management whatever regarding Mac. They want Apple to exist, and they do sell a lot of Microsoft software to Mac users; but I doubt they even vote in board elections, if they have a seat there.

The reason Mac OS has never appeared for anything but Macs rests with Mac management philosophy which has always been immediate profit rather than market share. Always and relentlessly. At the same time they spent money in all directions without focus. Oh well.


You mentioned in the column that it is a good idea to keep the original Office installation CDs available if you travel with a laptop. These are true words and obviously a lesson born of bitter experience. But, if you use Office 2000 there is a better way and it may work for Office XP, too.

During the initial install do the first setup as a network share. This will copy an installable version of Office from the distribution CD to the laptop's hard drive. Then run setup for the user(s) from there. This even works for a single user machine, as apparently Office has no problem conceptually with a network of one.

Later, when Office Upgrade or other patches demand files they will access the network share on the hard disk instead of the CD. Most of the time it doesn't even ask, it just does. This also eliminates the need to have CD Key number available, except during the initial setup. Full details are in the individual application "readme.txt" files in the Office directory under "installing to a network."

The downside is that you have two copies of the thing on your hard drive but I think of the "network store" as a backup copy. Of course, my laptop has a 40G hard drive.


Ron Morse

That may well work. It's what I used to do, too. Odd I didn't this time. But the Service Packs need the original disks no matter what.

Subject: One Billion Transistors on a chip,3959,636064,00.asp 

Tracy Walters


Subject: The Worm Turns

France threatens force against Iraq" "France has made its strongest statement of support yet for military action against Iraq. French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said that if President Saddam Hussein fails to comply with the Security Council resolution on inspection and disarmament, force will inevitably be used against Baghdad..."


Of course it remains to be seen how much they will actually contribute once the feathers fly.

Cheers, Rod Schaffter

-- "It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag." --Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, Sergeant, USMC

I am not entirely convinced I would want French help in Iraq to begin with.

Subject: "Mart paint"

Nanotech in the Military - sooner than you may think!

Charles Butler 


If you haven't already seen it, you might be interested in this

if perhaps for no other reason that your name is mentioned.

Although Eric Raymond's knee-jerk anti-Microsoftism often irritates me, he writes well, and he's not shy about staking out a position. I must confess that I haven't paid much attention to the taxonomy of SF since I got out of the Navy in 1974 and had to start working for a living; nevertheless, I should be very interested in how your perspective on this period compares with his. (For one thing, I think you're more "libertarian" and less "conservative" than Eric gives you credit for, but he doesn't strike me as somebody who spends a lot of time reconsidering a position once his mind is made up.)

For what it's worth....

===== Tiomoid M. of Angle JD MBA Polymath and Curmudgeon ----------------------------- "Just because you take no interest in politics doesn't mean that politics will take no interest in you."

I find Raymond's essay about as pretentious as most rambling off the cuff remarks about science fiction.  My own view is that we ought to get science fiction out of the classroom and back in the gutter where it belongs. But let me note that back in the 70's, SFWA was split pretty evenly between those who signed petitions supporting the US in the Cold War and those who denounced it, and there is a long and very hard left trend in science fiction that is much stronger and more influential than the libertarians. Schulman and Smith and some of the other explicit libertarians have not been the best sellers that Fred Pohl (a moderately left writer) and those to his left have been. Of the explicit libertarians, Vinge is probably the most popular in sales, and Raymond doesn't mention him.

Raymond is certainly welcome to ignore me, but anyone who purports to analyse "hard sf" without mentioning Niven, or popular SF without mentioning our collaborations which have outsold most of the works he does mention (Footfall was Number One on the NYT best-seller list; Lucifer's Hammer was 15 weeks as Number Two to The Thornbirds; Mote in God's Eye is the all time best seller in SF that Simon and Schuster has ever published and that includes Sagan) probably hasn't completely thought out his position. Note too that Fallen Angels, written by Niven and me with the explicit libertarian Mike Flynn, won a Prometheus Award from the libertarians.

Ideologues seek to put people into categories and brackets so they don't have to think about what they actually say.  Mr. Raymond has done this before. But in fact I am rather hard to categorize: I say this because I don't know how to do it myself.

I don't have to guess what Mr. Campbell would have said about certain things because I know what he did say. Similarly, Robert Heinlein and I were close friends to the day he died, and I don't have to guess what he thought about many things that seem to inspire speculation now. Robert was torn between a developing libertarian philosophy and his deep rooted patriotism; like me, he saw many liberties once taken for granted vanishing, and wondered how long he could be loyal to a republic that had abandoned many of its founding principles. We both wanted and I still want a return to the "old days" of a self-governing Republic. Take back your government. Does that make me a hopeless statist?

Raymond is welcome to his speculations, and I am rather glad he said so little about my own works.

Libertarian utopia novels can be interesting, and sometimes fun; even influential. So can dystopian novels of the "If This Goes On" variety ( that was a story by Heinlein but it has come to stand for a kind of warning story; my CoDominium stories were of that sort). The field is now more dominated by wizards and elves than rocket ships and engineers. It's also in a bit of a slump, but we have seen those waves before. I am astonished that a treatise on "hard sf" and libertarianism has no mention of Vernor Vinge.

 But I am glad to see that he concedes that science fiction may have a future. And see below.

Dear Jerry:

You write, "I continue to wonder what [Professor Kirstein] teaches." According to his web page, he teaches history, including the history of the Vietnam War.

I concur with Stephen's assessment, that the Professor should be suspended until he learns English -- at least the difference between "raining" death and destruction upon people and "reigning" it. (At least he didn't accuse anyone of "reining" death and destruction.)

An article, presenting the cadet's e-mail, Professor Kirstein's reply, and the Air Force Academy's e-mail, and the Professor's apology, may be found at this address. 

Linked to the article is a page for comments that have been made wrt the article.

The good professor also has a web page. 

One item from the reader comments mentioned above... One person was wondering what the Professor's position was on abortion. Another person stated that his door is festooned with articles praising the benefits of the procedure.

Thomas Sowell is vindicated once again.*

........Karl Lembke

* In "Vision of the Anointed", and other works, Sowell observes that the left and the right seem to adhere to a definite cluster of beliefs, and if you know where any individual stands on any one belief, you can predict his position on any other belief in either cluster with a high degree of accuracy.

Well, the abortion rights issue isn't that good a predictor. I know a number of conservative women who don't want laws forbidding abortion. My own view is that it's an issue best left to the states. But yes, Sowell is often right, sometimes spectacularly so. And that is one excellent book.





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Wednesday,  November 13, 2002

Hello, Jerry,

Maybe this does not fit into the neat boxes and labels that the TV bobble-heads want, but I'm a lot more worried about Pakistan and N. Korea than Iraq. See the latest report from the Post:

I note that:

- A large portion of the Pakistani public supports the Islamic fundamentalists

- Much of what we would call the public school system in Pakistan has been replaced by government-supported religious "schools" run by the Fundamentalists. By all descriptions, their curriculum consists of teaching kids to memorize the Koran, and not much else.

- The Pakistani secret service is dominated by Fundamentalists. They nearly created the Taliban, which is why Pakistan was one of maybe two countries to recognize "Sheik" Omar's government.

- The Taliban and al Queda hid in a border region of Pakistan after we took over Totah Boroah and the other "nests".

- The Fundamentalists in Pakistan desperately want to do murders in India, as a way to "free" Kashmir, which might need freeing -- but the Fundamentalists notion does not sound much like freedom.

- and then there is N. Korea.


John Welch

And we certainly cannot fight a two front war...


Today's Wall Street Journal has a front page article on spam, starting with reporting on one spammer -- who makes money on 1 response per 100K emails, and has a $200K/yr income from a $15K investment six months ago.

The article also gives names and towns of residence in Florida for the spammer and her computer assistant and fellow spammer. I am surprised they don't expect any retribution. Pehpaps some of your readers will be interested in the details...jim dodd

San Diego

Yes, I saw that.

 I can't think anyone would be so incensed at this insensitive "I am only trying to make a living" woman that they would do anything harmful to her or her house. After all, she sends 1 million spams. If each wastes only 1 second of time per recipient, that is only 11 days she ought to be in jail for time wasting. Times the number of times she does this, of course. I mean she is performing a public service, isn't she? And it's legal. Of course we might want to talk to the legislative critters who make sure it is legal in return for access payments, oops, campaign contributions.

In fact, nothing will happen, but I sure wish someone could waste a second of her time for every second of other people's time she wastes.

Jerry, I read that article about the spam queen. Quite interesting, especially the parts about how the response rate is dropping. However, one line caught my particular attention:

WorldCom says that if problems with a spammer persist, the company will send increasingly stern notices and eventually cut off service.

Wow! What a strict policy! Here at Earthlink, if you get caught spamming, you're warned that if you ever do it again, your account will be cancelled, and you won't be allowed to re-instate it or create a new one. For the second offense, we cancel your account. That, mind you, is if your first offense doesn't use a forged address, forged headers, or any other method of hiding who you are. If you *do* try to hide your identity, we know that you knew you were breaking the rules, and cancel on the first offense.

I know of one case where a man created an account at 7 AM, logged on and sent out a spam with a forged address. Four hours later, when he tried to log on to get the replies, his account was already a smoking hole, and we wouldn't even give him any responses he'd received. Compared to that, WorldCom's "policy" is to send out meaningless warnings, with no apparent intention to make good on the "threat" of cancallation. Companies like that, best known as spamhauses, are what keep spammers in business.


Yes. I wish all ISP's had a strict policy on keeping the spammers off.








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Thursday, November 14, 2002

Sorry: today's mail goes up tomorrow.








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FridayNovember 15, 2002



Subject: DV Storm Capture Card

Nice review, as always, but I feel compelled to clear up a few things:

DV and D1 are most certainly NOT the same thing, and to suggest that having a DV storm card in your machine is akin to having a D1 deck is misleading, at best. I don't deny that a complete digital path is available to consumers/prosumers, and this is a good thing. But I'll suggest that you're misleading the public by advising them that they have the opportunity to produce D1 broadcast quality material with the DVStorm. The DVStorm is indeed a nice device and well worth the money. However, contrary to your assertion, the DV format by design is a compressed format (5:1 ratio). D1, on the other hand is truly uncompressed. FWIW, DigiBeta uses a 2.3:1 compression ratio. Furthermore, the YUV sampling ratios of the DV format (4:1:1) is inferior to D1 (4:2:2) and does NOT provide the same quality of picture not really close when scrutinzed accurately. What's more, using the S-Video inputs is not giving one a true SDI (Serial Digital Interface) for true D to D copying/transport. And while Firewire inputs will provide a digital path, it's not an uncompressed Serial Digital Interface on par with the D1 standard.

Any questions?

Boyd Shermis 

Visual Effects Designer/Director

I haven't time, with COMDEX just about to happen, for a detailed reply, but Alex says "You CAN do full uncompressed capture with this card, and I've done it." Uncompressed capture lets you edit to anything you like. 

My point in the column wasn't that one ought to go to PC's and the cheapest possible methods for professional work, but to emphasize what can be done now in software with affordable equipment. Next generation will be moreso. The implications should be obvious. 

We have an unusual number of finds by Roland (Roland Dobbins <>). I won't be able to comment on all of them:

Subject: BuReloc 

It does look that way sometimes... See below

Subject: Ordnung! 

And they wonder why music sales keep going down.



Subject: Good Q&A on the settlement.

Indeed. Quite good. Microsoft acquires a primary hamper, but otherwise can do as it likes; the public isn't going to put up with too much more control over their systems, and the more Microsoft goes in that direction the faster others will switch to Open Source and Linux, which are the real competition to Microsoft anyway. Netscape can't compete. Sun can't compete...


And now for something both different and important:

Subject: Gamma Kolos

The Cesium Search...   A good plot for a new novel. But alas it's real.

And related, also important:

General staph.

As in General Winter?

More on education:

Zero tolerance.

Which is what happens if you insist on "mainstreaming" and "zero tolerance" at the same time. These are state matters and need to be left to the states: at the moment we seem to have national policies that are a disaster, and will always lead to situations like this.



Homeland 'Security'. 

Roland Dobbins <>

Ave. Ave Caesar Imperator. And see below


While we are on the subject of stupidity,

Sensitivity on Parade 

The Warner Grand Theatre, a city-run movie house in the San Pedro section of Los Angeles, has canceled a showing of "Tora! Tora! Tora!," the 1970 movie about Pearl Harbor, that had been scheduled for Pearl Harbor Day, Dec. 7. The Torrance Daily Breeze reports that "Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn concluded that the event would have been insensitive to the Japanese-American community."

This is one of the dumbest things we've heard all week. As blogger Eugene Volokh

points out, Japanese-Americans are Americans. "The attack on America was an attack on their country. Suggesting that recalling the events of

that day is somehow 'insensitive to the Japanese-American community' is

an insult to that very community."

===== -- John E. Bartley, III - K7AAY telcom admin, Portland OR, USA - Views are mine. Review of SPH-i300 Wireless FAQ for PalmOS(R) This post is quad-ROT13 encrypted. Reading it is a violation of the DMCA. 'The Republic will always be in danger so long as the soldier has a rifle and the worker has none.' - Engels


You will be pleased to know that sanity returned and the event will go on as scheduled.

Minor note on MS dot net advertising.

I noticed over the weekend that a cute series of Microsoft ads that have been around all year have quietly dropped all mention of dot net. The ads are still getting saturation airplay, but the (obviously absurd, but presumably illustrative) situations are now "Your business with Microsoft Server Software" instead of "your business with Dot Net." Does this mean that dot net is dying as a marketable concept?

(The ads never really explained how dot net would magically give you customer to manufacturing (or warehouse or wherever) integration, but were more of a heads-up so that sales reps could get in the door and make the real sale.)

Greg Goss ( )

Interesting. I hadn't noticed. .NET was never a consumer product anyway of course.


For years the rumor sites have claimed there is a team porting the Mac OS to Intel. Its maybe a hedge in case Motorola and IBM get tired of making Apple's CPUs. With its Unix base under OS X, it should be easier now.

Besides technical difficulties of the switch, I believe Apple makes most of its money on hardware rather than software so why open the door to hardware competition? One of the first things Steve Jobs did when he took back control was to cut off the Mac clones.

Besides, Apple has enough headaches making everything work with their own motherboards and firmware. Add in a lot more vendors and GOOD LUCK!


I doubt the truth of the rumors, but I have no way of knowing. I have a lot of sources, but none that confirm that rumor. But:

Jerry -

Jim commented - "For years the rumor sites have claimed there is a team porting the Mac OS to Intel. Its maybe a hedge in case Motorola and IBM get tired of making Apple's CPUs. With its Unix base under OS X, it should be easier now"

I suspect that you have seen this but:,3959,496270,00.asp 

Apple Keeps x86 Torch Lit with 'Marklar' By Matthew Rothenberg, and Nick dePlume, Think Secret

As Apple Computer Inc. draws up its game plan for the CPUs that will power its future generations of Mac hardware, the company is holding an ace in the hole: a feature-complete version of Mac OS X running atop the x86 architecture. (entire article is at the link above)


So now you know what I do.


On Intelligence Failures: 

You've probably already seen it, but I didn't remember seeing it on your website.

Also, you have mentioned on the site, that there are better space suit designs than those of NASA, but I have not been able to find any information on the web. It could be that it isn't online, or also possibly my surfing skills are lousy :) Do you recall, off the top of your head, any information about them?

John Crawford

Someone had to say it, I guess. 

 As to the suits, that was a long time ago and little work has been done since. But the current NASA suit designs are plain lousy, and there are many roads to improvement, none that NASA is taking.

And now for the bizarre:

Subject: I have no words for this.  

 Roland Dobbins

Nor I. Copyright lost due to a medieval painting that might be of a weasel? The Europeans have gone mad, mad I tell you...

Reading this, I do tend to wonder if Eric has actually READ much of Heinlein. One of the impacts of Starship Troopers was not the idea of only Veterans having the vote - that idea was formed with the Roman Empire or before. No, what caught my eye at the age of 12 or 13 when I read it was...there was no idea that mixed-race mattered. Or race at all. Or, to a certain extent, gender. Later, he seems to have reversed himself on this subject, unless you read closely.

What would Eric say of Mack Reynolds, who decried the rise of the corporations into the real arbiters of power? Mack was writing in the 1960's, mind, long before globalism had become a buzzword.







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Saturday, November 16, 2002

Subject: Using the term BuReloc around our military

Is offensive as hell. BuReloc doesn't deal with people captured under arms while shooting at our troops. I didn't see a single family with children on that flight.

What I did see is a group of combatants being transported to a POW camp. Since said combatants belong to a religion or sect thereof that views death in battle against "infidels" (you, Roland, and me, Jerry) as a religious sacrament, I also saw a group of soldiers whose commander is fully aware of that reality and has issued orders that accomplish the task in a manner that minimizes the risk to the troops he commands. Anything else would be dereliction of duty on his part. Frankly, after decades where our troops died because their commanders were too worried about being politically correct to give sentries loaded guns, as in Beiruit, I find it refreshing.


Steve Nelson

I both agree and disagree. It wasn't intended to be offensive, and you'd have a hard time making the case that either Roland or I have any anti-military bias. Nor do I disagree with the proposition that the troops have to be given the means to carry out their orders: who wills the ends must will the means.

Having said all that it's still instructive. That wasn't the only copy of those pictures I received: most were triumphalist in tone, which is itself instructive. 

What you saw there was an inevitable consequence of the logic of Empire. And note that many, perhaps most, of those transported by BuReloc in my stories were not entirely undeserving of that, and in fact were often sent to places where they had better opportunities than they did in their welfare islands; nor, I think, can you make the case that I was at all disrespectful of the CoDominium Marines who had to carry out the decisions of their political bosses. 

Who says A must say B. The course of Empire is predictable, and includes pictures like those; that sort of thing is absolutely necessary, and any commanding officer who did less deserves summary punishment. 

I am not always a fan of Max Boot, but his title "The Savage Wars of Peace" about America's small wars is appropriate. And that was under the Republic.

Subj: Microsoft: Butterfly Terror?

A few days ago, I came across an article in _The_Wall_Street_Journal_ titled something like "Microsoft: Deadly Butterflies".

That title reminded me of Vernor Vinge's _A_Fire_Upon_The_Deep_, in which the "Aprahanti" are revealed as human-sized "Butterflies in jackboots", who instigate an attempted Galaxy-wide extermination of humanity, under the slogan, "Death to vermin!"

Suddenly, I saw it! The cute butterflies in the latest Microsoft commercials are just an attempt to soften us up, to undermine our vigilence against the forces of the Aprahant Hegemony, that even now may be infiltrating our world!

Don't be fooled!

Rod Montgomery ==

Uh -- there's treatment for that...

X-86 MAC

This is pure speculation on my part, but such a machine would be far from a Standard Clone. It would need to include the Mac ROMs at the very least. It would be Apple Mac hardware still, even when using standard parts that PC makers use. You wouldn't be able to install any Mac OS on just any old x86 clone machine.

The rumour I heard about the reason the project has remained under wraps for so long is that the x86 Macs run a lot faster than PPC Macs and speediness has not been in Apple's favour for a long time now. Releasing a new machine that leaves every other Mac in the dust would create a sour taste in recent PPC Mac purchasers' mouths. Speed might not count when comparing Apples to PCs, but it sure would count when comparing Apples with Apples!

An x86 based Mac might be a tad cheaper to manufacture than a PPC machine, but I doubt that it would make much of a difference to the retail price, or Apple market share. The latter is clearly of no interest whatsoever to Apple and as far as I can tell, never has been.

If PPC falls far enough behind, we likely will see x86 Macs and part of Steve Jobs' reality distortion field will get a suitable makeover from the marketers.

Jonathan Sturm The world's most famous Pompous Git according to Google and ABC Radio National!

Dave Small had those systems that ran Mac OS on Atari and Amiga at one time, but the ROMs were the difficult part. I doubt there will ever be X86 Macs; by the time that could happen politically, the Open Source people will have Linux based operating systems that run both Mac and Windows software.

Dr. Pournelle,

I don't visit Byte that often, but read your Current Mail several times a week, if not daily. However, I don't often go to the Current View section. I did today and signed up a Byte subscription, but would not have seen it if I didn't go to view.

You might want to mention the Byte subscription in Mail as well. (I subscribed, and I'm trying to figure out why I paid so much more for a subscription to Salon, which suffers from a dearth of content, since I mostly read the technology articles and gag on everything else!)

Stephen Borchert

Thanks, but gosh, aren't you missing the best part?

Now for a well deserved gloat:


From: Stephen M. St. Onge

Date: Nov. 16, 2002

subject: The Professor Pays

Dear Jerry:

Professor Kirstein walked into a buzzsaw. The University's president has announced:

Effective on the afternoon of November 11, 2002, Professor Kirstein was relieved of his teaching responsibilities for the current semester and reassigned to other duties.

An administrative reprimand will be delivered to Professor Kirstein and placed in his personnel file.

While on sabbatical leave during the spring semester of 2003, Professor Kirstein will submit his teaching, scholarship, professional development, and service record to peer evaluation within the norms of the University’s procedures for periodic review of tenured faculty. Professor Kirstein volunteered to have this review conducted earlier than it otherwise would have been.

Any future faculty contract(s) extended to Professor Kirstein will include a binding addendum specifically requiring him to adhere both to institutional policies and to the norms of the American Association of University Professors in matters relating to the proper exercise of academic freedom and extramural activities.


Best, Stephen

Stephen M. St. Onge

Minneapolis, MN 55409


Astonishing. For another view:

Subject: Professor Kirsten and the "elite"

Jerry, I am a long time reader of Chaos Manor. I used to read your columns in Byte and have always enjoyed your books. I am also a liberal democrat, who while having some differences with the party line, is mostly in agreement with party policy .I fail to see what is remarkable about Kirsten, he is just another loud mouth idiot, the world is full of them .Its just that the internet publicizes them more. Just ignore them. Political point of view is no substitute for brains, witness the statements by Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell about women's lib being responsible for 9-11. Idiots are in all parties. 

I an also tired of hearing him being referred to as "elite", No disrespect to Xavier but being a junior professor there is not the same as being a Nobel Laureate at Harvard. I am also tired of hearing people like myself, who made $50,000 once in his life being referred to as "elite" by oil barons and Wall Street Executives. I am a semi-retired children's librarian from rural Indiana who attended Indiana University at Ft. Wayne, while living at home and working, I also had a small government scholarship. I paid for grad school 100% myself. Keep up the good work I enjoy intelligent discussion even when I'm not in total agreement with whats being said. Dan Van Zile

Well elite depends on where you are looking from, but I can't argue with any of that.




Following is relatively long, but:


I am corresponding with a friend on politics, and this is his take on your View of Nov 14, 2002


Charles Adams, Bellevue, NE

Note to Bill -- Jerry's view appended at end of e-mail Note to Terry -- Bill was Jerry's student, I was Bill's

-----Original Message-----From: Terence J. Maher 

OK, I'll weigh in. I was raised in a Catholic household in Minnesota in the50s and 60s so you gotta know I was a Democrat -- or rather DFL, Democrat-Farmer-Labor, as they are called there. I did a little work that punk kids do, like parking cars at fundraisers, etc, went to some receptions, met Eugene McCarthy, etc. He even gave me his book. I still have it. I really thought Republicans were not quite human, at least lacking in any human feeling. This persisted through the 1976 elections.

But something happened. I chanced to read my long time hero Thomas Jefferson's founding principles for the Republican, or Democrat-Republican, party. There wasn't a thing in there that the Democratic Party championed. In fact it opposed most of it. I also chanced to read the Socialist Party platform from 1922, I think it was. (I read everybody, Marx, Che, Mao etc) Just about everything in there the Democrats had either pushed through already or were trying to, everything but the seize the means of production piece. And I noticed that for our efforts we were getting not the removal of barriers but the loss of boundaries. We were not getting social democracy but Halloween. For a time I held to the "social liberal, fiscal conservative" illusion.

Then I started reading some guys -- Richard Weaver, Irving Kristol, Hayek (though these days the Hayek I most admire is Salma!). And this guy came along, who I had previously thought was a second rate actor and not very good host of Death Valley Days, Ronald Reagan. But he put these ideas in ordinary language. It made sense for me of books I had read years earlier -- The Conscience of a Conservative, A Choice Not An Echo, etc. He spoke of the same thing I saw, not leaving the Democratic Party but the party leaving him. By 1980, I was riveted at the convention by the keynote address of Guy Vander Jagt. I was a Republican!! At least that kind of Republican.

I became aware that we were not well liked by the other kind of Republican, of whom my opinion had not changed. And by the end of the convention I thought, it might be a politically wise deal at the moment to choose one of them as VP running mate in the person of Bush I, but in the long run it will ruin the whole thing.

I chanced to visit the hospital in the part of town where I was born in Chicago. By adoption, I didn't have to grow up there. But now I was back with those who did. And after 50 (at the time) some years of New Deal some other new deal white liberals and their non-white hangers-on pouring tons of other people's money into "programs" we had more of precisely what they were supposed to alleviate -- poverty, crime, broken families, and generations of people who cannot envision improvement other than lining up for the latest "program", the only concrete product being a secure class of government workers, everybody dressed up for Halloween 24/7.

We were pretty well there when the roles were reversed, and one of them, Bob Dole, chose one of us, Jack Kemp, as his running mate, who immediately recanted and began to voice the tired old echo, not the choice. We are totally there with Bush II, completely co-opted.

So I return to where I began, Thomas Jefferson, of whom Kennedy once said at a White House dinner for Nobel laureates that this was the most brilliant assemblage of minds ever gathered at the White House, except for when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.

I asked Terry if I could send his note to you. He added

well, it's fine by me. There's one thing I'd add though. On the improvement only through liberal programs. This is not to say that everyone who is down is down through their own fault. The left always thinks we mean this. We don't. There is a role for government programs. The problem is when it becomes a lifestyle. The problem is when compassion isn't acknowledged unless it is tax funded and government administered. I believe the whole essence of liberal arrogance is the separation of reward from effort -- from each according to his ability, to each according to his need, a Marxist axiom that all leftists hold to in some degree. The leftist agenda has this morality built into it, whereas the right advocates simply ameans of exchange of goods and services. That's why you have leftists opposing conservative morality saying you can't legislate morality, then legislate morality by attempting to erect a system in which moral outcomes will happen regardless of the people. And on the other hand why you have conservatives saying get the government off people's backs economically yet attempting to legislate personal morality. Both are mistaken, both ironically do exactly the same thing.


from (for Bill Allen)

As I have said often, generally the best solution to all this is to leave things t0 the states. Yes, sometimes that produces very bad results in some states; one reason why the guarantee of the right to get the heck out is so important. But rushing in with national fixes for what are essentially local and state problems produces in general a far worse result. Segregation was bad; marginalization and national paternalism is potentially much worse. The Congress explicitly has the power to enforce voting rights by appropriate legislation. 

It doesn't have any authority at all over education; and I grew up in a place where the legally segregated Booker T. Washington high school in Memphis gave its black graduates a better education than they are getting in the integrated schools now. 

I can live with legislation of personal morality at a state level. I'd prefer it at a city level, as when the Memphis I grew up in had a Commission to review what movies could be shown there. I didn't particularly like having to go across the river to West Memphis, Arkansas, to see Jane Russell in The Outlaw (particularly because the Arkansas state police always shook down any Tennessee driver they could catch for $5 when five bucks was folding money) but it was endurable.  The pursuit of national perfection has led us to some pretty odd situations, and that will all get worse: and once you have it established that morality is the business of the national government, it will cease to protect freedom and begin to implement the will of the majority. Just you watch.

Incidentally, I find Hamilton, Washington and Adams at least as inspiring as Jefferson, and the Jefferson Adams debates are very much so. The tension between Hamilton's nationalism and Jefferson's states rights made for some interesting discussion...


On Homeland Security:

That is truly terrifying.

How long can it be before the HSHA folks come up with a nice new uniform, say black with silver piping? I also wonder what kind of ID they'll use. Those laminated plastic cards are passé. They should consider stamped metal oval discs instead. I think I even have a sample around somewhere if they need one.

I also wonder if the guy they just hired will have the rank of admiral, or if they'll promote him to Oberstgruppenführer. That'd be appropriate for the head of the Heimatsicherheitshauptamt.

-- Robert Bruce Thompson

Well, I would not expect things to go that far, but nationalizing all problems, then having an imperial foreign policy, leads to a great deal of centralization. Indeed, you can't have national glory without a fair amount of centralization.


On American economics:


You've often had much to say about the blind spots of modern economic theory. You thus might find the following article interesting:

Your friend David Friedman gets mentioned as a quintessential "sweetwater" economist.

--Erich Schwarz

A postscript to my last e-mail:

You've often complained that economists have refused to pay serious attention to your questions about free trade.

It looks like there is at least *one* Nobel-laureate economist, Robert Solow, who has at least partially paid attention to the issues you've raised:

"Where I think the open-economy partisans run into problems -- and it is a respect in which a lot of market-oriented economics and economists fail -- is that they tend to look at overall progress and brush off the fact that a lot of people lose in this process. They brush it off as 'That's just distributional. That's not my business. After all, any country that wants to can make transfers from the gainers to the losers.' I think that's a bad mistake, not only politically, but in a deep way. It's a socially bad mistake. A society in which a small number of people get very rich and a large number of people get very poor is not really progressing, even if when you add it up and average it, it appears to show rapid progress.

"Economists who see the marvels of trade and markets wonder why these people complain so bitterly. They're complaining so bitterly because a lot of them aren't sharing. It's not enough to say -- and everybody knows it's not enough -- that 'oh well, if these countries really wanted to redistribute income they could do that.' They can't do that. They can't do that because the people who are profiting from the open economy -- and who usually have the political power -- are not about to give any of it away to the people who aren't profiting. When a poor country gets attached to the world market and profits from it, the people who gain from this process immediately become politically conservative because they're the ones who have something to protect.

"If you listen to the people in the streets of Seattle or Genoa or wherever, what they say is so dumb that it's hard to take them seriously. But if you say to yourself, OK, they're representing some very unhappy people; what could you say that made sense about the situation? You'd find plenty of things to say. In the United States and Europe, we've done very well in redistributing income. We're far from perfect, but we've done much better in making sure that nearly everybody profits from progress. But you could not say that about a lot of poor countries."

The full interview with Solow is at: 

--Erich Schwarz

Well, I agree with that and I will go a lot farther: you do not want one class of people who are getting rich and trying to figure out how not to share, and another class that has no choice but to turn to politics as a way to get a share. I don't want a large class of people in the habit of thinking that their major contribution to society is to vote for people who will take care of them, nor do I want a class of politicians who think their job is to find unhappy people and give them something for their votes.

I do not want to have to use politics as the distribution mechanism, because once you get in that habit there is no way I know of to get out of it.

I would far rather have something like a tariff that requires the wealthy to hire their fellow citizens, and allows those fellow citizens to feel and be important to the national economy, than to have a more efficient economy and a larger pie that is then redistributed by welfare.

I will agree that we have done better at this than most, but we are now falling into "The Trap" ourselves.

It may be that there is no way to have most people feel and be useful; but if there is not, then there is likely to be class warfare for real.

Dr P:

Since you did the intro to Karl Pflock's book, I thought you may have a mild interest in this.


Different subject. No need for "Actung! Papers!"



Well I think Pflock has done the definitive work on Rosswell and what really happened. I'd be startled to see anything really new that would refute his thesis.








This week:


read book now


Sunday, November 17, 2002

ON Mac OS for X86:

Short Answer: I'd put down money that the rumors about Mac OS X on x86 are true, if I were a betting man. There is no technical reason why the current Mac OS X can't be running right now in Apple's labs on off-the-shelf x86 boxes.

Long Answer: The "Classic Mac OS" (System 1.0 through 9.2) requires ROMs.

Mac OS X runs solely and totally on a platform-neutral kernel and operating system, which kernel and OS are open-source products (Apple's product name for the open-source components of Mac OS X is "Darwin").

Darwin boots today on both PPC and x86 processors, with no ROM requirements. You can take a vanilla Pentium box, download the x86 Darwin code from Apple, and have a functional command-line UNIX-type system.

Because this is a tested system, there are at least command-line systems up and running today at Apple using the core kernel, drivers, and UNIX environment from Mac OS X. The PPC and x86 versions are always kept in synch and up to date with the commercial Mac OS X releases.

The GUI ("Aqua") and Application Frameworks ("Carbon" and "Cocoa") are all built in C-based languages (C, C++, and Objective-C) and ought to be pretty portable. Cocoa sure is.

Mac OS X is really the latest rev of NextStep. NextStep 4 booted and ran on Intel x86, Motorola 680x0, Sun SPARC, and HP PA-RISC processors.

I don't work at Apple. I can't say for sure. But there's no technical hurdle to an x86 version, and NeXT's team historically built for multiple platforms.

Steve Setzer


Subject: Nixon's War?

I just watched on CSPAN a discussion with vet writers Broyles and O'Brien who bewail Nixon because his tapes show how much less grief he felt for his soldiers than Johnson. I'm 47, and it's not uncommon that people my age and older are taken aback when I remind them that it was Johnson who escalated to half a million soldiers and Nixon who got us out, however awkwardly. Many seem oblivious to the fact that it was the Democrats' convention in Chicago in 1968. And they were watching the same network news as I, and I was only 14! I'm trying this morning to research how many U.S. soldiers died in Nam under Johnson and how many under Nixon, partly to fuel the next such argument, and partly to settle my own amazement at Broyles and O'Brien's discriminate thinking about the two administrations. Any idea where I can find these statistics?

Peter Lambert, Venice, Florida

One thing is certain. In 1972 150,000 North Vietnamese came down to invade the south. They were utterly defeated, at a cost of a few hundred American casualties. The US provided supplies to ARVN and air support. It was a complete victory. 

In 1975 a similar army came down but the Democratic controlled Congress refused supplies to ARVN and refused air support, and all the years of blood and treasure we had put into Viet Nam were lost along with an ally; and we got the shameful pictures of helicopters being pushed off the deck of the carrier.

This is known to anyone, but not many seem to pay attention.






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