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Mail 257: May 12 - 18, 2003 






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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).

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  May 12, 2003

"It's also early Sunday morning"

"v = at, so to get 700 fps you need 700/128 = 5.4 seconds acceleration, s (distance traveled) = 1/2 * a * t^2 "

Somehow you misplaced "the foam simply stops" when you did your math. Your educational qualifications massively outshine mine, so it sounds like you got bit by Sunday morning. This is why I just sleep through those.

The velocity is really V0 + at, and the distance formula ends up with two clauses for initial conditions. The simplification you used is indead "stops dead", but dead relative to the shuttle - attached. Dead relative to the atmosphere could well be hundreds of m/s.

A vague approximation for V0 would be 82 seconds at under 3G or somewhere under 2400 m/s. The shuttle does go supersonic during liftoff, but I don't know if it is there yet at 82 seconds.

Well I warned you all that it was early of a morning. And it helps to work through the assumptions.



You don't know me, but I know you from the days of Byte. I used to read it cover to cover, including your articles. I really loved Byte magazine, and your articles in particular, and was really disgusted when Byte bit the dust. It was the only true platform/application independent magazine I've ever seen. In it you could read about interesting things in the way of supercomputing, Windoze, Unix, Mac C compilers, computing hardware, electronics, you name it. Now its just Windoze this, windoze that, or the counter movement of Linux this or Linux that.

Don't get me wrong, I have interest in significant developments in Windoze (other than virtual interactive talking parrots and such), and I'm very interested in the Linux/Opensource movement. However, when I try to explain to a co-workers that the real benefit of Linux is that it allows any college kid from Sydney to Jakarta to contribute to the development of such opensource initiatives such as Apache, Samba, etc., ad-infinitum (see -- my co-workers don't get it. Based on the hype, all they can only conclude (or more correctly "repeat" the propaganda) that Linux is going to replace every OS on every platform (e.g, Solaris, AIX, HPUX). What the benefit of that, even if it were true? Wasn't the last Sparc binary release of Linux die at v 6.x because of complete indifference? It's all *nix anyway. The real significance of Linux is that the Samba improved made today on a Linux box, will be out tomorrow on Mac OS X, cygwin, Solaris, AIX, etc. That is the beauty of Linux. When the fight becomes the globe vs. Microsoft -- who would you put your money on? I don't see MS dying anytime soon -- but thankfully, like RIAA or MPA, MS will now have to accommodate the user or die -- either way, who cares. I'm learning and loving Perl.

Anyway, didn't mean to start a personal blog to you. Guess I've been stewing on a few things that I wanted to unload. However, did want to thank you for your writings of the past, and express gratitude that your wit and wisdom can still be found somewhere in the wild wild west (www). I ran across you blog based on some followup to a Computer World article I read recently.

Thanks for musing,

Lance, Stansbury Park, UT (right at the very bottom of the Great Salt Lake) 

Well, I did a certain amount of work on Linux in the earlier days; and I'll be looking at the state of the art as it gets useful for users. Including doing mail server stuff shortly. Boxes are getting cheap enough that even Microsoft users may want to have some Linux in their systems.

Agree on contributions. If I were getting into the computer programming business I'd learn and keep up on Linux as a matter of course no matter what system I worked on.

Everyone urges me to get a Mac and look at OS-X and I probably will fairly soon. They're not cheap and Apple isn't about to supply me with anything, so I've been hanging fire until I am sure about the tax situation this year...

But I do like Tablet PC's a lot and so far there are none other than Microsoft variety. And those are pretty cool.


Subject: Spam

> Home. Tons of mail. Much of it spam of course. It is time to think > hard about what to do about spam. Seriously. I am told that there are > about 100 spammers who account for 80% of the spam. Their names are > known. Their addresses are known. They have declared themselves our > enemies. Why is there no way to treat them as such?

The question is not "what can we do?" but "what are we willing to do?" the thrilling and frightening truth is we can do anything.

Internet Based Attacks in a Physical World

Posted by Hemos on Monday May 12, @09:31AM from the too-bad-it's-not-internet-based-attacks-on-The-Real-World dept. scubacuda writes "In light of the /. backlash against Spam King, Alan Ralsky, (in which /.ers published his info online--including an overhead shot of his house--and signed him up for junk) Simon Beyers, Aviel Rubin, and David Kormann have written a report entitled Defending Against an Internetbased Attack on the Physical World.

Complete Story:

Build Your Own Cruise Missile

Posted by michael on Friday May 02, @10:35PM from the super-scud dept. WegianWarrior writes "Bruce Simpson, the man behind one of the more interesting site about pulsejets on the web, has launched a project to build a US$5000 DIY cruisemissile - just to prove that it can be done, since some said his earlier article about it was off the peg. Bruce has also designed and placed on his site a non-weld pulsejet you can build with simple tools, a 2D airflow modeling rig and a new valve/injector design for conventional pulsejets (according to the first page on his site, this new design is placed in the public domain)." We linked to his pulsejet pages about two years ago.

Complete Story:




Maybe lawyers will save us. And maybe not:

Subject: Line 'em up, shoot nine of every ten.... 


Who knows, maybe he is saving us. Or maybe he sees a way to get someone to pay him money to go away.






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Tuesday,  May 13, 2003


>the Ayatollah Khomeini sums up the duty of all Moslem men to conquer the infidel....

I think this is the long term problem that civilization faces with Islam. Apparently most Moslems are reasonable and peace loving people. However, there are the statements in the Koran and in other traditional Islamic texts that advocate violence against all non-Moslems. There will probably always be some Moslems that believe they must act on these commands if they are sincere about their faith.

Many people point to the Christian crusades and say that Christianity went through a similar phase and outgrew it. There is some truth to this analysis, but the difference is that the Christian bible does not advocate violence in the way that the Koran does. Most modern Christians correctly consider the crusades and the inquisition to be a departure from the true spirit of Christianity. A modern Christian fundamentalist may be in favor of the so-called neoconservative political agenda, but they still would not go so far as to say that the bible commands us to conquer and rule non-Christians. Even this is a reflection of secular political attitudes more than religiously based attitudes.

No other religion that I am aware of gives specific commands in its scriptures to conquer all nonbelievers. It appears to me that the Islamic faith will be a major force in the world for the indefinite future, and of course, the Koran is not likely to be revised.

I don't think there is any permanent solution available for this problem. I think we will have to handle it like we handle the forest fire problem in the western US. Try to minimize conditions that lead to flareups; be prepared to beat back fires as quickly as possible when they arise; expect periodic casualties. I don't think it would be good to just let the fires go until they burn out by themselves.

Rick Stilson

There are few schools in the west where "education" consists of sitting on the floor and memorizing long passages of the Bible with the admonition that it contains all that one needs to know about law and government and political organization; unfortunately there are a lot of such schools in the Moslem world, and many of them present a xenophobic view of the world.

As to the Crusades, they were not originally or even eventually part of a "conquer the world and convert it by force" plan. There may have been warriors and clergy who intended that result, but it wasn't what was meant by the cry "God Wills It!" And in any event that was long ago, before the fall of Constantinople and two sieges of Vienna.

If you view modern history as a race between education and catastrophe, and then look at what is taught in the schools, both in the west and in the Moslem world, one may conclude that the race remains very much in doubt.

and see below


Subject: Gods Eye -

John Rice

But see below


From: Stephen M. St. Onge                                                  
Date: May 12, 2003
                                                                      subject: Jayson Blair
Dear Jerry:
        You write: " ' Mr. Blair's Times supervisors and Maryland professors emphasize that he earned an internship at The Times because of glowing recommendations and a remarkable work history, not because he is black.  The Times offered him a slot in an internship program that was then being used in large part to help the paper diversify its newsroom.'

        "Does this strike anyone else as odd?"
        Nope, it's exactly the kind of dishonesty I'd expect.  All defenders of affirmative action simultaneously assert that the people they hire are fully competent to do their jobs, simply the best available candidates for the position, AND that if you didn't have 'we absolutely refuse to call them quotas' for certain groups, members of said groups wouldn't get hired.  The basic strategy is to refuse to acknowledge the contradiction, in the hope it goes away.
        I actually feel a bit sorry for Blair.  He was raised on dishonesty, rewarded for it, and now gets punished for it.  Michael Barone has a column that speaks to this issue.  I think he'd say that the purpose of affirmative action is to keep people in 'Soft America' all their lives.
        However, the NY Times is ready to bring in the accuracy pros to make sure this doesn't happen again (both the above links via Instapundit).
P.S. : There's a new web comic strip you might find amusing,






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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

I have this message from many of you:

If you scroll to the bottom of a page of Google results, there is an

option "search within results".

Actually I knew that, but overlooked it. I'll fix it in the dreams topic.


Slashdot had a link to an interesting insight into the British House of Lord's discussing what to do about Spam.

-Dan S.

There is much new mail about SPAM. See Spam Topic Page.


And from Ed Hume something I have seen in other letters, but it's time to post:

"One of the peculiar features of our country is that we produce incompetent 18-year-olds and remarkably competent 30-year-olds. Americans at 18 typically score lower on standardized tests than18-year-olds from other advanced countries. Watch them on their first few days working at McDonald's or behind the counter in chain drugstores, and it's obvious that they don't really know how to make change or keep the line moving. But by the time Americans are 30, they are the most competent people in the world. They produce a stronger and more vibrant private-sector economy; they produce scientific and technical advances that lead the world; they provide the world's best medical care; they create the strongest and most agile military the world has ever seen. And it's not just a few meritocrats at the top: American talent runs wide and deep. Why? Because from the age of 6 to 18, our kids live mostly in what I call Soft America -- the part of our society where there is little competition and accountability. In contrast, most Americans in the 12 years between ages 18 and 30 live mostly in Hard America -- the part of American life subject to competition and accountability; the military trains under live fire. Soft America seeks to instill self-esteem. Hard America plays for keeps." --Michael Barone

See mail


Poetic Justice:

"EMI's copy-protection technology has resulted in a Melbourne resident doing exactly what the company is trying to prevent - copy a music disc in order to listen to it...His response was to send an email dripping with sarcasm to EMI.

"Just a courtesy email to inform you, that as a result of problems experienced playing the Norah Jones CD containing your Copy Control measures on Apple OS10.2 Titanium Laptop, Windows 2000 workstation and Windows XP workstation, I have now been forced to copy your CD just to listen to it," he wrote." 

Henry Stern Dayton, OH

A better image of God's Eye:

Dr. Pournelle, A better image of the Helix Nebula fron the Hubble Space Telescope homepage. 

I like how they provide several image sizes, from "Normal, 9.8 kb" to "Large file, 8.82 MB" to "Massive file, 285.99 MB". "Massive file". I wish other sites gave that sort of warning.

Kit Case


Buffy Studies 

===== -- John E. Bartley, III - K7AAY telcom admin, Portland OR, USA - Views mine. Wireless FAQ for PalmOS(r) This post is quad-ROT13 encrypted. Reading it violates the DMCA. winter into spring, brightly anticipated, like Habeas SWE (tm)





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Thursday, May 15, 2003

Subject: 36GB Optical Disc

Tracy Walters

We have been waiting a while for this one. When it's available that will solve some backup problems...


Subject: Dangerous Experiment

You are frustrated with the procedural antics of the minority political party. I understand. I disagree that the antics are new. Orrin Hatch rails against the filibuster of judicial appointments. But it was not long ago, that Hatch's committee was blocking Democratic Party Monsters from the courts. The rules of the Senate were designed to frustrate. Washington said, that drink which was hot in the cup of the House would cool in the saucer of the Senate. My grandparents slurped coffee from saucers, I know what that means.

Lloyd Arnold Winterville, North Carolina

You may be right; but in this age I still believe the sort of pre-emptive attacks you see on the Democratic National Committee web page, in which Bush is accused of "packing the supreme court" before he has named any nominees, and in general gearing the country for a complete stalemate in judicial appointments, is dangerous.

The danger comes from medium intelligence people giving up on the whole notion of democracy. "We are giving the government into the hands of the stupid; and they do not abide by the rules we are supposed to play under. Why let them set any rules at all? I will set my own."

It doesn't take a lot of people with that attitude to bring down the entire social fabric of government. Democrats in Texas are hiding in Oklahoma since they don't have a majority, but they can prevent a quorum. This is legal, it is even amusing, but it is also very much against the whole spirit of democratic rule. Being a state matter it is a matter for Texas, and the outcome is not vital to begin with. Preemptive attacks on the whole institution of judicial appointment at the Federal level is another story.

Most Warren Court decisions including Miranda were 5:4. Arguably the best thing we could do to end some of the problems in this country would be to return many matters to the states: as in the evidentiary exclusion rules, which were not a Constitutional matter as late as 1970: they were merely imposed on the Federal Courts by the US Supreme Court in its supervisory capacity. Of the states, about half had adopted such rules by law and about half had not. Then suddenly there were discovered Fresh New Rights in the Constitution. The result was part of the pattern of Federalization of "rights", and the paradox that as the courts discovered more fresh new rights the Framers and Ammenders of the Constitution had never thought of, we had less personal freedom.

Do you feel more free now than in the 60's? Some will, of course; but the Congress always did (well since the Civil War Ammendments) have the power to end legal segregation and enforce voting rights in the States. The fact that it did not do so is testimony to your observations above.

But ending Congressional power while building regulatory power and attacking the powers of the system to change the courts is not a way to increase freedoms.

Judicial appointments are influenced by two recent trends, the Bork Thing and the Secrecy Thing. Judge Bork's ideas were available during his nomination process. His writings were available, and he answered questions. When he was not nominated, it was decided that different tactics were needed. Writings would not be available, questions would not be answered. The nominee would be a pig in a poke. If senators balked at this, the senators were portrayed as a frustration to the president. They should be embarrassed to exercise the constitutional power to advise and consent. This suits the current president, who already had a predilection for secrecy. He is secret about his records as governor, about the presidential records of his father, about the energy records of his vice president, about the bids of contractors for rebuilding Iraq. Bork Thing, Secrecy Thing, Senate Rules: how frustrating.

Lloyd Arnold Winterville, North Carolina

Well, that is one view. It may even be correct; and it does show that there are plenty of people ready to justify political means to reach political ends. But I would have thought that the records of the people being held up now are fairly open? And that internal memos of the Solicitor General are in fact executive papers, not really suitable for leaking to the National Equirer, or some New York Time Pulitzer-seeking reporter?

Your remarks about the Texas Democrates are unfair and their actions are supported by the majority of Texans.

The problem is that Ken Delay wants more republicans in Washington. They came up with a bad redistricting plan and are using their new majority to stuff it down the throats of the Democrates. It's bad because it delutes rural interests with suburban interests. There are other reported flaws. Traditionally, redistricting is down after the census and has already been done and this one is unprecedented and will almost certainly be litigated; money we can't really afford. Texas has a great many problems in need of attentions; redistricting is not one of them. The democrates claim this is their only reason for their walkout. The republicans dispute this but refuse to pull this one item from the floor. Based on that, most of us are inclinded to believe the Republicans are acting as bullies and need to get real.

Greg Brewer

Well, I certainly can't speak for the majority of Texans. I have never lived there. But I would think that every 2 years the majority of Texans has an opportunity to express its views at elections. In any event I don't intend to get involved in this one other than to point at it. There will be another election in Texas, and one suspects this one will be taken care of one way or another.

My concern is with tactics that bring into question the whole notion of submitting to the rule of law. If enough people see those rules as unfair, or not being kept by one party to those rules, then the notion that obedience even against personal interest breaks down; and when the habit of submission breaks down, then submission must be compelled. The mechanisms of compulsion have been multiplied much of late.

But we were born free. We were also born in a society that believed in its own rules. For a while, the struggles were two: expansion of those participating, which is to say, implementing the Civil War Amendments to the Constitution and extending "equal protection of the laws" to everyone; and expanding the benefits of those protections, often without much regard to the effect of doing that: which is to say the creation of the Welfare State.

Some of those struggles were settled in the proper way. The Voting Rights Act, onerous as it was to many in the South, was an act of Congress. Some were settled in questionable ways, by Courts imposing their views of what the law ought to be rather than interpreting the laws as they existed. In some cases the expansions were vast and far reaching: the Great Society. And in some cases they should have been and some were repealed, as in Welfare Reform in the Clinton Administration. This is the way things are supposed to work.

My observation in Texas is that the Republicans (my party, known among many of us as The Stupid Party) have got in for the first time in a century, and now the Democrats are teaching them how they should have acted all along. But that may be, as you say, unfair. If I want to know more about the insides of Texas politics I have friends there who have been there a long time and seem to be well connected. I haven't much availed myself of those resources. One can't be an expert at everything.

My observations of Texas may be wrong, but I can't help finding it amusing when I see a bunch of Democrat legislators fleeing the state pursued by the Texas Rangers.




"incompetent 18-year-olds and remarkably competent 30-year-olds"

Michael Barone says that this is due to the lack of responsibilities faced by US teens. But the mere statement of the situation inspires another comparison. The history of brain evolution as expressed in primates and especially in humans is an absurdly long extension of incompetent childhood. Perhaps the analogy runs deeper here? Mr. Barone points out that the US has extended human childhood by another half decade beyond where most cultures cut it off. And he never addresses why US 30 year olds are more competent than those in other cultures. That half of his statement vanishes after being used to illustrate how poorly the teens are doing.

I cannot make my version of the analogy gel properly. My attempts to impose a cause and effect onto it fails all plausibility checks. But I find the analogy itself to still be worth examining.

Greg Goss

Now a number of Roland's finds:

Subject: Buying the business.

 -----  Roland Dobbins

Subject: Astonishing they didn't have this power in the first place . . .

 ----- Roland Dobbins

Subject: Transportation Insecurity Agency

 ---------- Roland Dobbins

Subject: Web hosting kills.

 ---------- Roland Dobbins

Subject: Laser warfare.

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

Subject: Any guesses as to who supplied the OS in this instance?

 ---------------- Roland Dobbins

Subject: Updating the stockpile.

 ------------------ Roland Dobbins

Subject: Good overview of the state of the industry.

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

Which ought to be enough for today, and no, I don't know how he finds time to read so much.

This comment, found at TechCentralStation, regarding Dyson's review of the Smil book, raised a grin:

And, speaking of climate change, what about a new ice age? Dyson reminds us that "a natural cycle has been operating for the last eight hundred thousand years. In each hundred-thousand-year period, there is an ice age that lasts about ninety thousand years and a warm interglacial period that lasts about ten thousand years. We are at present in a warm period that began twelve thousand years ago, so the onset of the next ice age is overdue." Perhaps human activity has prolonged the interglacial period - which, all things considered, sounds pretty good.

 -- Mike Flynn

And for those who don't have it, Fallen Angels by Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn is back in print...

We have many messages alluding to this:

Subject: SCO = Silly Contentious Organization


It's not enough to tackle IBM, now they have to take on the rest of the world?

This would be really silly if the FUD didn't hurt Linux.


Mark Gosdin

Subject: SCO in death spiral

SCO sued IBM for <Dr. Evil voice>one billion dollars!</Dr. Evil Voice>.

Their legal theory is that Linux is too good; clearly it couldn't be this good if a bunch of random guys around the world work on it, so it must be IBM's fault. IBM *must* have taken bits of AIX and pasted them into Linux.

There are many problems with this theory. One problem is that SCO was selling Linux. The GPL doesn't permit you to distribute code under the GPL if that code is non-free IP; since SCO is asserting that parts of Linux are non-free IP belonging to SCO, they automatically lose permission under the GPL to distribute all the parts of Linux they don't claim to own. In short, SCO can't legally distribute Linux anymore.

As of today, they solved that one: they are no longer selling Linux! Whoa. 

I have to say this looks like a company in a death spiral. They weren't making money on SCO's flavors of UNIX. They clearly weren't making money on Linux if they are so eager to stop selling it. I think the lawsuit was an attempt to get IBM (or anyone else) to pay them to go away, or buy them to make them go away. It now looks like IBM would rather pay lawyers to crush SCO in court.

Unless the executives at SCO are drinking their own Kool-Aid, they can't possibly hope to actually win if this actually goes to court.

P.S. Here is a devastating rebuttal to SCO's claims: 

Very much worth the time to read it. -- Steve R. Hastings "Vita est"

It used to be called the protection racket but I guess it's legal now. Ain't Rule Of Law wonderful when it matures?

Dear Dr Pournelle,

Just a thought on the comments passed by Rick Stilson and yourself, which in so many ways are an accurate analysis (in my humble opinion).

But, I remember a certain Dr. Pournelle providing the answer; “rich people don’t believe in thunder gods”, pardon me if the quote is paraphrased.

Education only comes when a people can afford it, it isn’t in the interest of the people in power (fundamentalist, ie terrorist. Governments, ie non elected but want to cling to power; same difference really). Make the people rich, they don’t believe in “Thunder Gods” anymore and don’t blindly follow the loudest “evangelical” voice on the block.

The people of the Middle East should be rich; financially, medically and educated by virtue of the money from their oil). Their rulers don’t want an intelligent electorate (they don’t want an electorate full stop!). The fanatics don’t want one either, intelligent people don’t become human bombs!

Cheap power for all equals wealth, you can spend your money on learning, expanding your horizons, health care, and eventually social services and a guilt trip on how rich you are! The curse of the western world!!

If only some of the ideas you postulated and I read in the early 80’s had happened then the world would be a better place. Perhaps for the US it still can be.

I wonder what would happen if the solar satellites were operational now, the US all operated electric cars and no Middle East oil was imported. How would those “govts” survive and how then cold they explain to their people that the US invaded x y or z for the oil, when they didn’t need it!

Just a thought

Yours truly,

Ian Innes (BSc. Geology and Mineralogy)


Subject: Microsoft Confidential

-------- Roland Dobbins

I am not at all sure this needs commenting. IBM used to use similar tactics. Whether this sort of thing works is another story.














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Friday, May 16, 2003

Out to lunch. See View.







This week:


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Saturday, May 17, 2003
From: Stephen M. St. Onge                  
Date: May 16, 2003                                         subject: Possible future book of the month
Dear Jerry:
        You may already be aware of EMPIRE by Niall Ferguson, but if not, check out for a description.


Hello Jerry,

I assume this is a new scam - I haven't seen one like this before.

Regards, and thanks for your View, Peter

-----Original Message----- From: UNIVERSAL TRUST AGENCY [] Sent: Saturday, 17 May 2003 4:57 PM To: (my email address) Subject: LOTTERY WINNING NOTIFICATION !

UNIVERSAL TRUST AGENCY Ref. Number: 2367/678-0436 Batch Number: 3566465021-SOS/03 ATTN: Sir/Madam. We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Lottery Winners International programs held in The Netherlands on the 9th May, 2003. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number 86378056-21 with Serial Number 4204-678 Drew lucky numbers 7-21-27-55-69-71 which consequently Won in the 1st category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of $2,000,000.00 (TWO MILLION US DOLLARS) CONGRATULATIONS!!! Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep your winning information confidential until your claims has been processed and your money Remitted to you. This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some participants. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from over 20,000 company and 30,000,000 individual email addresses and names from all over the world. This promotional program takes place every three year. This lottery was promoted and sponsored by Bill Gates, President of the World Largest software, we hope with part of your winning you will take part in our next subsequent stake that will be held in October 2003 of US$20 Million international lottery. To file for your claim, please contact our FIDUCIAL Agent MR. HARRY MOORE of UNIVERSAL TRUST AGENCY for your Winning Processment, Legal Documentations and CLAIM: TEL: 0031-630-014-840 (AMSTERDAM - THE NETHERLANDS). Please be aware that your Paying Bank will Effect Payment Swiftly upon satisfactory Report, Verifications and validation provided by our processing Agent; that would be designated to your file. Remember, all winning must be CLAIMED not later than 26th of MAY 2003. After this date all unclaimed funds will be included in the next stake. Please note that in order to avoid unnecessary delay and complications please remember to quote your referente information's in all correspondence. Furthermore, should there be any change of contact information, please inform our Agent as soon as possible. Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program. Note: Anybody under the age of 18 is AUTOMATICALY DISQUALIFIED. Yours Sincerely, Betty van Keulen (Mrs.) Lottery Coordinator

It seems to be another of those identify theft scams. Clearly one should never respond to any such thing. These scams usually work with a Collection Agency. There is special legislation that allows Collection Agencies to take money out of bank accounts without telling anyone they have done so. They are supposed to be licensed and regulated, but somehow their special software keeps falling into the wrong hands, and somehow they keep being able to do it.

DO NOT GIVE your financial information to anyone. For obvious reasons.



I just got a new computer with a 2.5 GHz Pentium 4. The OS is Windows XP Professional edition.

One of the problems I had was that the computer would bog down, and eventually just hang up, requiring pushing the button on the front of the computer to reboot. I noticed that when I checked the Windows Task Manager, on the performance tab, that I was getting 60% to 80% CPU usage, even if I had nothing running at all. I even went to the System Configuration Utility, and turned off all the items on the Startup tab. Still the same problem. Finally, I tried disconnecting peripherals, like my parallel port, Serial port to my UPS, etc. Nothing made a difference until I disconnected my USB port. That did it. All was OK. So then I tried each peripheral on the USB, scanner, printer, etc. Then I found the culprit, which was my compact flash card reader. Everything runs OK without the compact flash card reader connected. If I leave the compact flash card reader connected, I get something like 60% CPU usage. Does this make sense to you? Am I missing something? Should it be OK to leave the compact connected?

Thank you for any comments you care to make.

Ted Katsanis tkatsanis

I have never seen a similar problem so I can't tell you what to do. 


I have no idea why I was sent this, and I have even less idea why I am bothering to post it:

Copied: people propagating the corrupt version of this story across the internet so that they can replace it with the correct version.

Sorry Shannon but BOLL0X to that you silly American.

American's rewrite the history of yet another famous battle. Gits.

For a start the whole "pluck yew" bit was complete /\rse and blatantly made up (in reverse) because it sounds like "you know what".

Everyone who is anyone who knows anything about whatever happened at the battle of Agincourt know that the event involved BOTH fingers. The two used to draw a bow and arrow - index and middle. Note: American's don't have this as an insult really, maybe why the story had to be re-written.

The idiotic American (I love lots of Americans and constantly defend them BTW - perhaps a misplaced loyalty when issues such as this GM crop debacle arise again and again) who tried this little rewrite of our rich and chequered heritage neglected to consider the fact that without the middle finger you could in fact pull the arrow with the index and pre-pinky finger - as there would be no middle finger to get in the way, ok so it might take some training to get back on target but its possible to build the strength up. The pinky itself isn't strong enough and would be too far from the index to be useful or to exert enough force in conjunction with the pre-pinky finger. The French, despite whatever you say about them, at the time, did realise this (having archers themselves) and proposed the removing of the index AND middle finger upon the capture of the British they proposed to defeat. A cunning plan indeed. Yet they assumed too much. (Cough, 1442, cough, 1442)

Another glaring error and complete omission (he/she spent all their time on constructing phrases like "difficult consonant structure") was that the French intended to win THEREFORE capture the English Archers. Upon their capture they proposed the removal of these two critical fingers so not only would they suffer the shame of defeat but they would also never be able to arch again. Apart from perhaps their backs ;-) The yanky-doodle-dandy rewrite just jumps straight to what they'd "do", what before the battle? Hmmm I doubt an army would let you maime them pre-battle to give you the upper hand - or finger as it would be in this case.

As history tells us however it came to transpire that it was the French that in fact lost this conflict (something they have done extremely well throughout history - The attack on Portsmouth 1545, The First WW, The Second WW, The battle of Trafalgar (1805)... the list does go on.

As the French prisoners were being rounded up by the victors (namely the English) their captors who had found out about the plot to de-finger our proud lines of defence mocked and jeered the French adding to the derogatory profanities their middle two fingers held proud, showing the French they not only won but also knew of their plans (the point here is two fold as it mocks the French for being able to keep their plans secret) and could well have sounded something along the lines of:

"ooooh you ztupid French pansies, look as zeeees, yes our fingers, hahaha you stupid frogs, you have not removed our fingers, hahaha."

Conveniently the symbol also represents victory ( which really rubbed the message home to the garlic munching continentals.

The Swedish on the other hand rock and I might never come home.

NB: The French really never go over that.

Silly Americans :o)


-Loves you yanks really.

PS We didn't want the colonies, we let you win the battle of independence. ----- Original Message ----- From: Shannon Tuttle To: Crazygits Sent: Thursday, May 15, 2003 10:24 PM Subject: [Cray-Zee] Fwd: FW: FW: FW: I never knew


My Groups | crazygits Main Page

But it does illustrate some of the silly mail I get that I do NOT [usually] expose you to...

Three from Roland:

Subject: I feel safer already!

----- Roland Dobbins

Subject: EZ-D

------ Roland Dobbins

Subject: Flash bang.

-------- Roland Dobbins

Dear Dr. Pournelle,

MSNBC has posted yet another article on why Los Angeles residents should fear earthquakes.  has a description of possible circumstances that may ruin the whole day for you and a few million neighbors. I will keep this with the predictions of the California coast surviving while the rest of North America slides beneath the sea and the memory of Robert Heinlein's story of flooding the Salton Sea area. Unfortunately, people caught in severe earthquakes have no reason to look for humor. Take care, and hope that this prediction is as slow to materialize as many before it.


William L. Jones

Actually it's you guys on the North American Plate that are going to slide under us...

And I didn't see this when it came in:

Subject: Today's Lovegate variant ( priority one)

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

And this wonderful letter from Philippa Sutton


>The trip here was uneventful, barring the usual idiocy of the "security" >arrangements which would be more accurately described as the "airport >avoidance conditioning system." If Al Qaeda had set out to lobby the U.S. >Congress to destroy the air travel industry by imposing onerous and silly >regulations in the guise of increasing safety, it would have cost far more >in bribes to achieve far less effective results. We have done this to >ourselves, and we aren't much safer for having done it.

I don't know if the whole security thing is as bad in Europe as it is over your side of the pond. I'm about to find out by trying my first flight since I became seriously disabled. An old-fashioned wheelchair is simply full of dangerous bits - I can do a quite convincing Boadecea impression - complete with scything action at ankle-level. The other option is to let me carry my stick - a long strong piece of metal that is capable of many things as well as being leant on (ask Wormtongue!). (Though I don't think he'd got round to notion of selling advertising space on the triangular handle.) Or, of course, they could just declare me too dangerous to let anywhere near an aeroplane. How are airport security and ADA-activists getting on together?

Real thought to share with you. I think that if I were a Islamic fundamentalist planning a major campaign against the Western world, your suggestion would hit the nail on the head. The answer to the War on Terrorism is a War on Tourism. Make people too scared to leave home. It's a perfect answer - your geographical targets are, by definition, full of transients where one more stranger is just another dollar and no one notices odd behaviour. Your people targets are not likely to be the poor, the desperate and the alienated in the slums of Cairo, or Jakarta, or Baghdad. Are those people going to feel that the lives of rich, white Western Christians (and I think we all are Christians in their view - not true, but...) need to be protected and cherished? And the economic targets work as well. Look at from the slums of Karachi (to pick a place at random) and ask yourself how the Bali bombing looks. A group of drug addicts (alcohol), whores (look at their dresses) and their pushers and clients being catered for by a group of pagans (Bali being predominantly Hindu) - if someone has sent them all to hell a little early to make the word a more Godly place? "What is really wrong?"

It's very seductive logic. I believe that tourism is the world's 5th largest industry (however/whoever calculates these things), but the Islamic world does not have a big slice of it, either as consumers or producers/enablers. Surely most of the tourism in the middle east goes to Israel. But when tourism is threatened the victims are the big boys in your country and mine (airlines, for example) and even the small outfits just about keeping a rural community afloat on visitor dollars. (And of course the dollar being the de facto currency of tourism doesn't help.) If anyone could really get that going we could all hurt a lot more.

It is all the deeply dangerous logic of group guilt and collective certainty. You KNOW your religious convictions are right, and that anyone who doesn't agree with you is bound to go to somewhere much worse than the third-world slum - and for all eternity - then their lives simply don't count. And we will not reduce this danger by saying -"No, you've got it wrong - WE're the ones who are doing what God wants, and YOU're the ones going to hell." It may turn out that certainty is the greatest trap of them all - at least here. What God thinks I won't presume to say - it's why I'm an agnostic.

This has all got too metaphysical - I really just meant to say - yes, travel and terror seem very well suited as partners in economic terrorism.

And a Happy whatever-holiday-you-believe-in to you too.

Philippa Sutton

----------------------- Philippa Sutton philippa @

All that is necessary for Microsoft to rule the world is for good people to accept the default settings

Thank you. Good to hear from you again, and all best wishes.

And see below






This week:


read book now


Sunday, May 18, 2003

Here is a very strange development:

Straussians abroad

By Jeet Heer, 5/11/2003

WHILE LEO STRAUSS'S GREATEST IMPACT has been in the United States, significant Straussian colonies have sprung up elsewhere as well.

As David Frum has noted in National Review Online, Allan Bloom led a large-scale migration to Canada. After he felt threatened by machine-gun-carrying Black Panthers at Cornell, in 1970 Bloom headed for the University of Toronto. He was soon followed by Straussians such as Walter Berns, Clifford Orwin, Thomas Pangle, and even George F. Will. While Bloom returned to the United States in 1979, he left behind a network of Straussians that is now ensconced at every major university in Canada.

But Strauss's largest potential audience may lie in a more surprising location. ''A very, very significant circle of Strauss admirers has sprung up in, of all places, China,'' notes BU's Stanley Rosen.

Rosen offers a provocative theory for his mentor's popularity in the world's largest communist-or at least pseudo-communist-dictatorship. ''As far as I can figure out, none of the top people has an interest in Marxism,'' Rosen observes. ''They've inherited a society which is made up of one billion peasants and one million intellectuals. What they are going to have to do is bring the peasantry into the 21st century, slowly. It could take 50 or 60 years. They are very interested in the whole Straussian question about how the political and philosophical elite manages a population of this sort.''

Growing up in a country with ancient traditions of mandarin rule, some Chinese are apparently finding affinities between philosophy as taught by Strauss and their own heritage. ''Aristotle is like Confucius to them,'' Rosen observes.

This story ran on page H4 of the Boston Globe on 5/11/2003.

And of course the Straussians are prominent at Claremont and other places, and among neo-conservatives.

And from another place I have:

These genome folks ought to take a look at the literature before they give their talks, for example:

Roy J. Britten Divergence between samples of chimpanzee and human DNA sequences is 5%, counting indels PNAS 2002 99: 13633-13635; published online before print as 10.1073/pnas.172510699 [Abstract] [Full Text] [PDF]

These people have an amazing record of putting out second rate stuff in near complete ignorance of the literature. They reinforce my notion that money corrupts in science as much as anywhere else.

Referring to:

> Chimps expose humanness > Preliminary genome comparison points to primate individuality. > 29 April 2003 > HELEN PEARSON >  > > Our DNA may be only 94% the same as chimps'.


And we have:


The fact that sub-Saharan African countries are still taxing imports of insecticide-drenched mosquito netting shows that they are not serious. So one can hardly fault the West for not focusing on malaria.



Malaria Four horsemen of the Apocalypse? May 1st 2003 | IWAYA From The Economist print edition Panos

Infectious diseases are in the news. Here are reports on four of them. First malaria, which kills ten times as many people a day as SARS has killed in total

With a reply:

a lot of the problem comes from well meaning people who ban DDT and want insecticides that don't poison. SA did away with DDT on recommendation from the 1st world only for malaria to expand out of control.

Another problem is 1st world countries donating money by sending foreign experts to write their environmental legislation. which means 2 things it is either ignored totally--or it is obeyed and cause unnecessary problems.

Nigeria has the best environmental legislation in the world, written by Norwegians...and either it will be ignored, or will be used as a source for extracting bribes.

The company I work for has problems with legislation that is being introduced by leftist environmentalist who don't understand the subject they are legislating about


So that's something else to think on.

On another fascinating pair of topics:

Dr. Pournelle,

Good news! The following link is a refresh on the Fizzer worm topic. If it is to be believed the worm has now been programmed to de-install itself.

Fizzer Worm uninstalling Itself...

Another topic altogether. Is the new Boeing/Army contract leading up to Bolos?

Over at Washington Post is the following article: Boeing Wins Contract for Army Modernization

It details the new tanks to be designed include updated conventional tanks and new unmanned tanks. Is Keith Laumer going to roll over in his grave if Boeing fails? It is an ambitious project and may be too much to hope for. It certainly will not be AI driven as of yet.

Keep up the good work, I plan on renewing real soon now.

-- Oliver Richter

Good news and interesting...  Thanks!


Love your writing but really how can you be peeved with the clipper situation? I'm not saying the new security policies are working, but if you bring something along that everyone knows is on the not allowed item list why complain when you get it confiscated or turned back?


I don't know the meaning of the word surrender! I mean, I know it, I'm not dumb...just not in this context. - The Tick

Well, it's easy to forget you are carrying something. But the important point is that the very notion that an airplane can be hijacked by someone carrying a nail clipper is bizarre, and shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the very nature of the problem, and a stupidity so profound as to make one wonder if there is any intelligence anywhere in the agency.

The fact that you can get grown people to act as if it is important to confiscate nail clippers is depressing. The fact that you can get armed men and women to act as if they believe it is vitally important to confiscate nail clippers is even more so.

Is there anyone among the readership, one person, who believes that confiscating nail clippers is making us safer? I would be interested in the reasoning.

Well no one knows what is in the mind of the organized terrorists who will make another attempt to intimidate the US by staging an attack. But the most probable scenario does not include using an airplane as a weapon, and does not include a commercial airliner at all. Before 9/11/2001 highjackers were assumed to want to take the plane somewhere, maybe extort concessions, etc. but not to use it as a missle. Now it is assumed that they will want to use it on a suicide mission and unless they can imobilize all able bodied passengers, their chances of success are limited. There are just too many easier ways to make their point for them to risk failure in their mission. Capture while on a mission would probably be the ultimate humiliation for a terrorist. So while security at airports is still important, the level of detail is only a sham, pretending to do something while not doing anything substantial at all. There are ways to find and eliminate terrorists and the organizations that recruit and finance them. The problem is that no country is willing to take appropriate action.


Including the American voters.




Subject: Disturbing.

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

And Greg Cochran on the war:

So far, my estimates concerning Iraq have been pretty accurate, much more so than those of the United States Government. When I manage to outguess the pros - which seems to be happening some in biology, too - I am pleased, I suppose, but my main reaction is fury. I will never be able to walk onto the basketball court and outplay the guys in the NBA - they're guaranteed excellent. Basketball is important - it's done _right_. But we don't place the same importance on recruiting the highly competent in less important areas like biomedical research or formulating national policy. Same reason, I suppose, we do affirmative action in law school, but _never_ in sports.

Gregory Cochran



You may have already seen this -- seems the Texas Democrats were following the California Republican's tactic of attempting to thwart legislation by preventing a quorum by hiding out. Politics is a strange business...

- Andy Wright 

Texas legislators' tactics California-born Orange County Register Sunday, May 18, 2003 (no byline in online version)

SACRAMENTO – When desperate Texas Democrats fled their statehouse last week to avoid a political showdown, they simply followed a Republican playbook that had been written nine years before in California.

Then, Republicans hid in Sacramento's Hyatt Regency Hotel to block that wily despot Willie Brown from clinging to the speakership for a 15th year in the teeth of a new, razor-thin Republican majority.


I did not see that but it doesn't surprise me.

No one seems to understand the rules lately.


And then from Dr. Ed Hume

Psyop: The Love's Not Mutual The U.S. military is using Metallica and the 'Barney' theme song as instruments of coercion in Iraq

NEWSWEEK May 26 issue - Your parents aren't the only ones who hate your music-some Iraqis hate it, too. U.S. military units have been breaking Saddam supporters with long sessions in which they're forced to listen to heavy-metal and children's songs. "Trust me, it works," says one U.S. operative.

THE IDEA, says Sgt. Mark Hadsell, is to break a subject's resistance by annoying that person with what some Iraqis would consider culturally offensive music. The songs that are being played include "Bodies" from the Vin Diesel "XXX" movie soundtrack and Metallica's "Enter Sandman." "These people haven't heard heavy metal before," he explains. "They can't take it." Few people could put up with the sledgehammer riffs of Metallica, and kiddie songs aren't that much easier, especially when selections include the "Sesame Street" theme and some of purple dinosaur Barney's crooning. -Adam Piore


=I love you, you love me...

The horror!

From one of the extras, below:

> "This Is a World Made for Women" > > A: Black women are really the canaries in > the coalmine on this. Put simply, I believe > white women are headed to where black > women are today. If white women want to > see the future of what will happen if men > aren't brought along through the educational > system with them, they should listen to > the problems among black women today.

How did that Credence Clearwater Revival hit song from the 1970s go? "I see a Bad Moon rising. I see trouble on the way.."?



The "extras" didn't come through but the thought did.

I have a lot of mail on  a very serious topic:


The BBC television is airing an interesting War Spin story on Sunday.

Check out : 

It makes you wonder how much more Hollywood scenarios the military have come up with.

Regards, Philip Mortimer

Many others have sent references to this. It needs thinking about, and I have no data you don't have. I have not spoken with anyone who was there. The discussion begins tomorrow. Be sure to read that, because this is not the entire story at all.
















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