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Mail 233 November 25 - December 1, 2002






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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 25, 2002

There was some mail over the weekend posted in last week's mail.

Turns out the people at Los Alamos National Laboratory have built the 85th fastest computer in the world using the small form factor PC's made by Shuttle. It's a 294 node Beowulf cluster, with each node costing under $1000. According to their site this cluster takes up less space then one of their older 144 node systems. Some more information and photos about the cluster can be found here: 

All in all, I would say this is a pretty big validation for this kind of form factor and its reliability and advantages over other current popular PC form factors.

-Dan S.

Dan has become enamoured of the small form factor quiet computers. PC POWER AND COOLING is developing them commercially. Computers in a desk drawer. We will see: at the moment all mine are mini-tower.

Thought you'd find this a fascinating article that dovetails nicely an earlier piece about humans and hyenas and dogs. Aleta 

Yes, since the SCIENCE magazine articles there are a lot of secondary articles about dogs and people, all interesting, some with new slants.

Subject: I hate being wrong

Dear Dr Pournelle, Went back to the R. V. Jones book. Checked a few dates. You were right: the Brits became aware of Knickebein on or about 21st. June 1940 when Jones briefed Churchill. The trigger incident - German bombs on London followed by a British raid on Berlin - happened on the 25th. August. I'm not sure jamming was responsible because the time was very short, but it is certainly possible that it caused the Germans to lose their way, and jettison their bombs before returning home.

Regards, TC

-- Terry Cole BA/BSc/BE/BA(hons) ( System Administrator, Dept. of Maths. & Stats., Otago Uni. PO Box 56, Dunedin, NZ.

So do I but it happens anyway... Desmond Morris told me the Knickebein story when he was here in Studio City for a while, and he did a lot of careful research. I have found I can generally rely on him.

NASA has a "natural hazards" advisory service that will email notifications of natural and man-made hazards seen on Earth from NASA satellites.

Here's a recent notice from the service's website that shows heavy fog in the California central valley. I used the high-res image on the site to create a desktop picture for my PowerBook.

The service also has current images online showing the oil spill off Spain, the sulfur-dioxide plume from Mt. Etna imaged in infrared, and heavy smog in China.

It's an interesting service and deserves wider recognition.

. png

Peter N. Glaskowsky Editor in Chief, Microprocessor Report

thanks. Interesting service...

Yet another interesting place to visit

The MIT AI Lab has put *ALL* of their publications online, in Postscript and PDF.

All of them, going back to day 1 in about 1959.

Plan to spend some time browsing.

Between this and the Dijkstra archive at UT Austin, I could waste a LOT of hours.


Wow. Thanks.

Several from Roland:

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

Roland clearly has too much time on his hands... But see below

Subject: Copyright.
  ---------------- Roland Dobbins

Yes, I saw that. Thanks. And I agree completely.

Subject: Preach it, brother.

Preach it, brother. 

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

Amen, amen...




This week:


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Tuesday,  November 26, 2002

The following is in response to my View for Monday:

Dr. Pournelle,

First, a disclaimer: These opinions are MINE, not those of my employer or the US Government.

In Monday's view you mention that the Military seems more than willing to go in and pound on Iraq. This is based on a solid knowledge of, and first hand experience with, the weapons that Iraq is creating. We have a very long memory of who has used what weapons in the past, and our instruction tells us that Iraq is one of only a few countries who have used anti-personnel chemical weapons in recent history. We would then (naturally) rather fight that particular battle on OUR terms and on OUR timeline at a location of OUR choosing, because unlike our ability to respond to a conventional attack, responding to even a poorly orchestrated NBC (Nuclear/Biological/Chemical) attack carries an enormous price in lost lives.

Those of us on the front lines also don't want to even consider what we'd do if we actually got nuked... Not a single person who deals with our nuclear weapons has ANY desire to use them, but it's not unreasonable to think that if we or one of our allies were hurt badly enough, we might respond in kind. The modern warrior would rather snip that entire chain of events before it gets a chance to start. That is why we're ready and more than willing to put the hurt on Saddam. Unlike the general public, we see on a daily basis what he has done, and we train against his past actions and current/future capabilities in mind. What he has done in the past is plenty bad enough, so we would prefer we do not have to wait for him to strike first with even more nasty weapons.

There is no thirst for blood, just a desire to do the dirty work on OUR terms before we have to deal with a stronger enemy who has delivered a nasty first blow. Flying and fighting in an NBC environment is difficult and hazardous, yet that's what we'd have to deal with if we let him take the first shot.

Again, these opinions are MINE, not those of my employer or the US Government.

Sean [Last name withheld]

The question is whether, left alone, Saddam Hussein is a menace to anyone, and if so, to whom; and whether preventing this menace is the proper task of the American people.

If he's a threat to us or those we hold dear, then best we wring his neck and have done with him; as indeed I wanted to do after the First Gulf War.  I was no fan of going into that maelstrom to begin with. I doubt that the Kuwaiti people are better off under their cowardly royals than they would have been under Saddam Hussein, nor did I think Saddam Hussein a worse threat to the people of the United States than many others in that region. He didn't seek to export militant Islam. He is, or was, a nationalist, and every Iraqi leader without exception has considered Kuwait a breakaway province of Iraq.

But having decided to go to war in Iraq, we ought to have finished the job by holding war crimes trials against those who did harm to our prisoners of war: this for the encouragement of the others, and the message it would send. We could then leave Mesopotamia to the intrigues of the British and French and the others who have always enjoyed playing their great games in that region.

We didn't do that. I doubt that we thereby made Saddam Hussein a dangerous enemy, and I have seen no shred of evidence that he was involved in the 911 attack on the people of the United States. That was carried out by an organization that seeks the purification of Saudi Arabia as the sacred homeland of Islam, mostly by Saudi citizens with money derived from Saudi Arabia, and the involvement of Iraq was small to non-existent. I am prepared to believe that Saddam's intelligence people did supply small quantities of anthrax to Al Queda, but I have no proof, only strong suspicions. But the 911 attacks were not the work of Baghdad, and Saddam Hussein has been no great friend of Al Queda.

Since 911 we have worked hard to make Saddam Hussein believe we are his mortal enemy, and that we will depose him when we can do so. That is a strong incentive for him to collect terror weapons to use as a deterrent against us: whether he is a selfish dictator or he truly believes he is the indispensible Ba'athist hero defender of his people is immaterial, since either gives him the same incentives.

We may have done our work of making him our enemy well enough that we now have no choice but to wring his neck before he has better means of deterrence than he has now. And certainly I agree with the troops, if it were to be done, it were best it were done quickly.

To that extent I agree with my correspondent.

Moreover, I am now fairly certain that we have gone too far down the road to war ever to turn back. We're going in, and my only surprise is that we didn't do it last Spring. If I believe that, it is certain that Saddam believes it; in which case he will be working to accumulate a deterrent we really don't want him to have, and once again, since we're going to have to disarm him, best we do it now while the outcomes are as certain as anything in war can be certain (which is not very: no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. Still the odds are good that we will win big with few American casualties, and those odds will not improve over time.)

To that extent I agree with my correspondent.

And since a false statement implies the universe, it's not much good speculating about what we ought to do in a better world or what might happen if we decide to take the road back to the old republic rather than go ahead on our imperial path.

Which leaves open the question of whether the republic can recover from this experiment. 

It is certainly possible. Republics are resilient. We were able to survive our imperial experiments in the Philippines and China. We have paid the price for Puerto Rico and will continue to pay it -- the damage there is not to Puerto Rico, but to us -- but it is an endurable price. Do note that while it is obvious to anyone who thinks about it that we have kept Puerto Rico under our tutelage far longer than any need, and the island is at least as capable of self government and nationhood as any down there, we aren't about to let go of it, nor will we make it a state. I once said that the proper solution to Puerto Rico would be to send the CIA to foment an independence movement we could give the place to. I wasn't being whimsical. The habit of governing others (as opposed to self government) is hard to break.

We were able to reconstruct Germany and Japan into working nations not threats to the West, and use them as allies in the Cold War. 

The costs to the Republic of the Cold War were very high: we centralized a great many functions that ought not have been centralized. It may well be that we went so far down that path during the Cold War that we will never return: will we, nil we, we may not be capable of restoring self government. Certainly the trend is in the opposite direction.

So: perhaps it is time to let go, cease to hope for self government under a republic, and look to how we can be the best empire we can be. In any case, given the current president, we are likely to depose Saddam Hussein. Few will mourn his passing.

More below.

Now back to computers, and a comment on my current BYTE column:


I just read your latest Chaos Manor and I have a much easier solution than disconnecting the internal Zip drive while installing Windows XP (also affects Windows 2000). As you may be aware most system BIOS' are set to auto detect IDE devices. This is where the problem with WinXP/2000 lies. If your internal Zip drive is Secondary/Master for instance, just tell the bios that there is no secondary master device (set to NONE) Windows Plug & Play will still detect the device and assign it a letter but this happens long after the BIOS has done its thing. I've done this on hundreds of workstations without ever having to open the case. Of course this means that if you were to boot via floppy you couldn't use the Zip but I think it's a small price to pay.

By the way, I have enjoyed your writings for many years.

Gary Martin

Actually it's just as easy not to plug in the data cable until you are finished installing Windows. XP finds the new Zip drive easily, and you don't have to go into the BIOS at all.

Thanks for the kind words.

Dr. Phil Chapman on Solar Power:

Subject: Solar Power from the Moon

Reply to previous mail

From: Phil Chapman

Dear Jerry,


The total solar energy falling on the Earth is about 180 thousand terawatts (TW), not 140 million TW, as calculated by Jeff Lackey (your letters, 11/20/02). Perhaps he is confusing a terawatt (10E12 watts) with a gigawatt (10E9 watts). He is thus wrong by three orders of magnitude when he says the 100 TW figure given for a solar power station on the Moon is only 0.0001% of terrestrial insolation.


On the other hand, while I havenít talked to Dave Criswell recently, I very much doubt that he is proposing a plant with such an enormous output. Assuming a (generous) overall conversion efficiency of 40%, generating 100 TW would require a belt of solar cells 50 km wide, stretching entirely around the lunar equator, with a total area of 560,000 square km (!!). Building that would be a daunting task, but it would be cheaper than putting all the photovoltaics in one place, because then you would have to provide energy storage so that you could go on delivering power during the long lunar night, and you would have to size the array so that it could charge the storage system during the lunar day, as well as providing power. A square array for this purpose would be 900 km (!!) on.a side, with an area of 820,000 km (!!).


These numbers are of course ridiculous. The total world energy consumption is growing by about 2%/year, but at present it amounts to 12 TW. The total world electric generating capacity is 3.5 TW, but the plants are not fully utilized, so actual electricity consumption is more like 2 TW. It does not seem likely that we will soon build a solar power plant on the Moon that generates an order of magnitude more energy than we now use worldwide, and 50 times more electric power than we use.


Note that insolation is 15,000 times greater than all the energy used by the human race At the present rate of growth, the heat we generate will approach the energy we receive from the sun in about 500 years. That growth rate depends in large part on population growth, and if the number of people continues to increase at current rates there will be 600 trillion people on the planet by then. Since the land area totals 150 million sq. km, each person would have an area half a meter on a side Ė i.e., there would be standing room only on Earth. It seems probable that we will level off before then, if only because of the difficulty of procreating while standing up in such an unimaginable press of people.


This is another reductio ad absurdum, which I hope demonstrates that we need not worry that our energy consumption, whatever the source, will have a significant direct influence on the climate. Indirect effects (e.g., the greenhouse) are another story, although almost equally far-fetched.



Indeed. Thanks

And sometimes close reading pays off:

re: Roland and too much time

Hi Jerry,

Regarding the url that Roland sent: (

Did you read closely about the charges?

"Charges include aggravated assault, terroristic threats, weapons offenses and criminal mischief."

Errrr indeed.

  Joel Rosenberg on the war:

I think your essay reflects the situation accurately; as usual, and you ask the right questions, even though, as usual, I disagree with some of your answers.

Where we differ is that I think that, in the world as it is, it's not feasible to leave certain kinds of aggressive dictators alone. I think it's a matter of the Bomb -- given the US's power, an aggressive dictator without WMD can be left alone until and unless it becomes necessary to do something, if ever; most burn themselves out before it becomes necessary.

Assume -- purely for the sake of argument; I'm not sure it's true -- that it was in the US's interest to do some combination of restoring the Kuwaiti monarchy and/or kicking the Iraqis out of Kuwait. Given the IDF having conveniently destroyed the Osirak complex ten years before, it was a military inevitability, given even modest political will; absent that, I think it would have been utterly undoable.

I think you're right, though -- there are worse threats to the US in the region; the Saudi entity next door comes to mind, and came to my mind, even before the recent revelations about financial support for the Saudi 911 shaheeds. Were it not for the Bomb, I'd prefer to see Saudi Arabia head the list in big black letters, rather than be written in invisible ink under the Iraq entry, with the notation "make them clean up their own mess" -- as I believe it is.

(Digression: loop back to a comment I made to you, about a year ago, about the difference between a B52 carrying a 10-kiloton-equivalent load of fuel-air bombs [roughly twenty] and a plane carrying one 10-kiloton nuclear warhead. What's the difference? That's not a rhetorical question -- I think there's a difference, but the first is a not-particularly-unlikely scenario, and the second is off the table, and I'm not sure I know why other than, "well, everybody knows that nuclear weapons are _different._", which doesn't satisfy me particularly.)

It seems to me that the US can and will have much more influence on the Saudi entity when there is an Iraqi occupation force a short drive away from the border, protecting the Iraquisling government's pumping of as much oil -- at market price -- as they can. Eventually, the House of Saud is going to have to clean up their own mess, if they can; Iraq may well be the encouragement needed.

I could go on, but I keep looping back to Solution Unsatisfactory, which seems to be playing out less cleanly, and in slow motion . . .

You will note that Saddam was denucleated by the Israeli Air Force without the necessity of a large ground invasion. If the republic determines that a regime is a threat, there are ways to remove it other than by invasion and permanent involvement.

Recall my essays on the war just after the September attacks. I proposed, not entirely without whimsy but not entirely in jest either, that the US go build monuments in all the places that rejoiced in the attack. If building the monuments required a change of regime, so be it.

My objections are two fold: I think getting involved in the territorial disputes of Europe -- and God knows the Balkan mess was no more than that -- is a drastic mistake that does nothing but harm to the interest of the US. I think entangling alliances absent a significant threat to the US itself are a mistake. And I think that our mucking about in the Middle East has made us a target.

On that latter score, it is done, and we can't stuff that genie back in the bottle. Standing down now doesn't get us less hatred. And given that we are now the targets, the list of people we can tolerate with The Bomb has grown shorter, and the threshold for US action has got lower. But even now, the best way to accomplish our goals, in my estimation, is to make it clear to ruling classes everywhere that attacking the United States, or allowing people to use your territory in aid of attacking the United States, will get you removed from power and probably killed. We are not responsible for giving your people good government. 

We are the friends of liberty everywhere. We are the guardians only of our own, but we will do what is required to guard our own. Don't Tread On Me.


Iraq seems determined to test our resolve in this matter. So be it. Saddam will not be missed, and he may provide a lesson for others. The question is, what will we do then? Will we become even more entangled, even more determined to impose the New World Order all over the world? I fear so.


Subject: Solar Power Calculation (Math 101)

Phil is of course right (dang!)

I got the peak load, ~1000 W/m^2, from a solar power website. (This is before conversion to electricity.)

In my earlier calculation I used a radius of 4000 miles and multiplied by 1000/.6 to get meters.

The correct radius is ~ 6.37 * 10E6 meters. PI*r^2 gives a projected area of 128 * 10E12 m^2

128 *10E12 m^2 * 1000 W/m^2 = 128 thousand TW which is a bit closer to Phil's number.

Still, wouldn't a 0.1% increase in load be reradiated into space without much increase in surface temperature? (Since the global warming models don't account for clouds very well, I won't either.)

I also agree that we are unlikely to get that much power from the Moon. But the people will have their electricity. If not by space solar power then by some other means, be it fusion or zero point energy field or some other improbable thing. Or have I been reading science fiction all these years in vain?

Jeff Lackey

No, we will have and need electric power. No question about that...

Subject: Netscape et Mozilla

Jerry P.:

I am interested in your take on Mozilla as I tried the latest version of Netscape as well as Mozilla separately. I had to uninstall both as they kept adding a pdf extension on exe files that I was downloading. I have always objected to the tedious process of setting up a Netscape mail account and so have never used it. Of course, after seeing the mess that Outlook Express caused a friend, who had an Outlook address list in his computer and then was running Outlook Express and could not figure out how to make them merge, I have never used Outlook.

OK, that is just my personal prejudice, but seeing how Outlook is targeted by hackers, why take the risk? I started using Mozilla way back in the days when you downloaded the latest alpha version to see what would crash. Before that it was the BBS days and Browsers were a refreshing change. I am sorry that Netscape has not kept up, and hope that they will survive. For some reason Opera just doesn't strike my fancy, but I want all the good features of IE and Netscape, and don't want to be stuck in the ruts that MS creates. Like why do I have to have a Documents and Settings folder as if there are going to be several users of this computer?

I want to be able to set-up my computer so that the folders (directories and sub-directories) are where I want them to be, with programs not scattered all over the map. Is that too much to ask? It is not like it is impossible, but I don't want to have to custom build the Registry to have everything where I want them. How about building in a good bookmark or favorites editor, one with some real power. I currently use Powermarks but previously used Compass. I want to be able to clean out the excess baggage on occasions, find what I want with not too much trouble, and understand what is going to happen without constantly learning new things. I on occasion help others with computer problems, dealing with crashed computers or files that they can't open; stuff like that. The level of difficulty in the average person being able to operate a computer without training is still too high. That is why Palm worked so well for people. It takes the average person a short time to be able to use the Palm functions well.

I did subscribe to Byte just now as you suggested. For the price, it is still a bargain. The print magazine was one that I always bought just for Chaos Manor, but always found other articles of interest. Kind of like Scientific American, there is always something of interest.

I am looking forward to more pictures of Sable.

charles simkins


I find Outlook satisfactory, and if you don't open mail attachments you don't get bit: at least that has been my experience. And if you do, you can be infected no matter what mail reader you are using.

I always configure Office to look for documents where I want them: in my case that's a directory I have created for myself. Outlook does go mildly mad sometimes trying to find places to archive things properly when you don't have the Documents and Settings madness: one of the more stupid ideas Microsoft has, but you can get around it. 

Jerry, are you serious

" The solution to Mozilla existing on the same system with Internet Explorer is to keep one instance of Mozilla open. If you don't, it gets unhappy and tries to usurp Explorer's tasks. Not an unbearable price. And many don't have Explorer at all, finding Mozilla preferable "

The concept of it being necessary to keep a third party application open continuously in order to have another operate normally is absurd. Yes it 'is' an unbearable price. Where could it lead ? When an application is 'closed' it should be CLOSED. Mozilla, or any application with this kind of behavior will never find a place on any of my machines.

John Webmaster, Network Admin, Janitor

Well, I should have said not unbearable to me, but I agree, it's pretty grim. It's also likely I did something wrong, but since what I did was pretty natural and wasn't an attempt to do anything silly, it will happen to others.

My experiences with Mozilla have not been pleasant. Internet Explorer ain't wonderful either, and it may be I am just accustomed to its idiosyncrasies; but I do prefer it to Mozilla.

Now I have to try Opera and see if it works with other browsers. But in fact I find Internet Explorer satisfactory and the price is right...







This week:


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Wednesday, November 27, 2002

I sent a mailing to subscribers on this:


From: JZ []

Sent: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 7:17 AM


Subject: An "Earthlink" scam

Jerry, the following is a copy of a message being sent by a scammer, trying

to steal valid username/password combos. If you get one, and can get the

headers, please send them here, headers included. Thanx!

Subject: Important information regarding your Secure Earthlink Mail!

Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 23:11:58 -0500


To: <Undisclosed Recipients>



Dear Valued earthlink member,

We have noticed that you have not been reading your Secure ELN Mail.

This is a new feature we have recently added to our system, and have

been sending important account information to your Secure Earthlink

Mail! Please be advised that we need you to log into your Secure Mail

within the next 72 hours to keep the Secure Account information in our


Below is the site to log into your account HERE

<>, or if your EMail client doesn't support

HTML You may go to HERE <>

Thank you for your time on this matter

NOTE that this is a scam. If you got this solicitation please send it to Mr. Zeff complete with headers.

The following URL allows you to download a free ICS Viewer for .xfd files.

You can then associate it with .xfd files which are in XML. You probably have several programs which will allow you to view XML text.

My copy of Mozilla (running on linux) opens a window when I attempt to download an .xfd file. The window gives me the choices of:

* Open using an application (which will then allow me to choose a program to use with the extension) * Save this file to disk * Always ask before opening this type of file

There is an advanced button which allows me to associate a program with the extension.

Jay Woods


That giant sucking sound . . .
  -- --------------------- Roland Dobbins

The economic debates continue. Will this eliminate manufacturing jobs in the US? And what will the former blue collar workers do?

I hope the free trade theorists are correct, but I fear the consequences of a global economy.









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Sunday, December 1, 2002

Thanks to Tracy Walters for:

Subject: Microsoft's Product Support Cycle Explained -

And questions I can't answer...

Hi I thought I'd try out my privileges a a new subscriber to ask you 2 problems I've had with Windows Millenium (1) It formats the hard disk every time you re-install the system. Windows 95 let you re-install system files while letting alone all the rest of your files. Is there any way of achieving this function on the new system. 

I've since got an external zip drive and completely backed up my system so this is only of theoretical interest/ a convience but I'd still like to know. (2) One of the reasons I got a large hard disk was I wanted to partition it and use LINUX & WINDOW ME side by side. I need to format the disk before partitioning (I've got a Shareware program that will do that for me) but when I reinstall Windows ME it corrects the Partitoning to the default options & destroys the Partitions I've created & put LINUX in. Is there any way to turn off this function? That's all No real rush with the answers 


Alas, even for subscribers I can't do individual consultations. Worse, I don't use or recommend Windows ME; if I wanted a dual partition system I'd use Windows 2000 or Windows 98, but not ME.

Perhaps another reader can be more helpful.

I read the letter you posted from a fellow subscriber, and felt that I might reply if it doesn't turn your web page into newsgroup list. I've found that it's best to install the non-Linux operating system first, i.e. Windows, and then install Linux. Many of the newer distributions, such as SuSE and Xandros, automatically recognize that Windows is there and want their own set of partitions for Linux.

I don't know if how it would work with Windows ME, but I would just hold my nose and install it, and then install Linux.

Stephen Borchert


SuSE Linux 8.1 will attempt to resize your windows partition for you on some drives. I my case it recognized & offered to resize the windows partion & create the Linux partions on one system running WinME. On the system that I actually did the install on, it recognized the WinME partion but did not understand how to resize it. The solution: Run Fdisk & create tow partions. Install WinME on one. Run the SuSE install. It happily installed on the other partion. I can boot to either WinME or Linux from the Boot menu SuSE installed.

Hope this helps.

Richard Bailey

Or use Partition Magic or Partition Commander.





From: Stephen M. St. Onge

Date: Nov. 30th, 2002

subject: Mr. Rosenberg's question

Dear Jerry:

Joel Rosenberg asks: "about the difference between a B52 carrying a 10-kiloton-equivalent load of fuel-air bombs [roughly twenty] and a plane carrying one 10-kiloton nuclear warhead. What's the difference?"

Well, a B-52 has a take-0ff weapons load of up to 50,000 lbs.
, and 10 kilotons nukes are down to 320 lbs weight,
, so the answer is 'The one hundred fifty additional 10 kiloton explosions the nuclear armed B-52 can deliver." Or to put it another way, you could deliver the nuke with a small plane or helicopter, not a BUFF.

Best, Stephen


Well, yes, but I don't think that is precisely the question Joel was asking.

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

I found a fable about space travel at
  . i would suspect you of having a hand in it, but the atrocious URL absolves you of blame.


William L. Jones

Actually I hadn't seen it before. Thanks!

And more edifying reading:

This article from the Economist has interesting outside view of why America works. For me, itís been second nature, and I didnít really think about it:




BOTH immigrants and host country often feel ambivalent about the way they live together. Immigrants want to feel at homeóbut they also want, to varying degrees, to keep their original values and culture. Host countries want immigrants to integrateóbut some also harbour a sneaking hope that the newcomers will eventually go home. Pull up too many cultural roots, lose the ancestral language, and that becomes hard.

Such ambivalence is greater in Europe than in the United States. Not only does America have an unusually clear idea of what it stands for as a country; it has had enough experience of accommodating different cultures to have created a template for cultural co-existence. Europe lacks both advantages. Europeans often mistrust national pride and lack moral self-confidence; they are also new to the business of living in a multicultural society, and are not helped by the sheer size of the Muslim population in some of their countries.


Entire article

Tracy Walters

Well, I would dispute that it has always been true that America didn't know what kind of country it was; although that may be true now. It used to be that you could study to learn what it was to be an American, learn it, and be one. Now perhaps it's all legalisms, but it wasn't that way when I was younger.

But we were born free.











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